January 26, 2016 / 8:00 PM / 4 years ago

Insulin drug maker Mannkind explores sale: sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mannkind Corp (MNKD.O), the U.S. maker of inhaled insulin drug Afrezza, is exploring strategic options, including the sale of itself, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, France’s Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) and Mannkind terminated an agreement for the development and commercialization of Afrezza.

That removed a key source of revenue for Mannkind, and the company’s stock has dropped 40 percent since the termination was announced on Jan. 5. It now has a market value of $330 million.

Mannkind is working with investment bankers on options, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Mannkind did not respond to requests for comment.

Since the termination of the agreement with Sanofi, Mannkind has been developing a new marketing and sales strategy and pursuing other partnerships. It also brought on a new chief executive, Matthew Pfeffer, to replace Alfred Mann, who remains chairman of the board.

On Jan. 21, Mannkind entered into a development and commercialization agreement with Receptor Life Sciences, a newly formed private company backed by an undisclosed investor group. It will focus on developing novel inhaled therapeutic products that address such conditions as pain and inflammation.

At the J.P. Morgan healthcare conference on Jan. 13, Pfeffer said that despite the loss of the Sanofi agreement, Mannkind has enough cash to operate comfortably until the second half of the year.

Alfred Mann, the founder of Mannkind, owns about one-third of the company.

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