Exubera Blows It


By: Linda von Wartburg

Exubera, the inhalable insulin, has been, to speak bluntly, a real bomb. Prettymuch the entire diabetic population can say with honesty that they neverinhaled.

Now Pfizer, the drug's manufacturer, has taken a deep breath, closeddown the Indiana plant where Exubera was made, said goodbye to $2.8 billiondollars, and placed about 700 workers on paid leave.

The company is returningits Exubera rights to Nektar, its partner in the Exubera debacle, and will workwith doctors over the next three months to switch Exubera patients to otherdiabetes treatments.

As far as another inhalable insulin? Don't hold your breath. Way back in Juneof 1998, Diabetes Health editor-in-chief Scott King told the Wall StreetJournal, "I don't think anyone understands the lungs enough to use them asanother pathway to take medicine, except maybe with a lung condition likeasthma. I'd be very cautious and see how Phase II and Phase III come out."Apparently he was right.

Source: Forbes; Reuters, October 2007



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