Sanofi has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with MannKind Corp worth up to $925 million for inhaled insulin -- an alternative option to daily injections for diabetics.
The deal gives Sanofi the right to develop and market MannKind's inhaled insulin therapy Afrezza for adults with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The companies plan to launch Afrezza in the United States in the first quarter of 2015.
Sanofi, facing patent loss next year on its top-selling insulin Lantus, is exploring novel ways of treating diabetes with the recently-approved Afrezza. While Afrezza acts more rapidly than injectable insulins, it will also carry a boxed warning of the risk of acute bronchospasm in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
California-based MannKind will receive an upfront payment of $150 million with potential further milestone payments of up to $775 million, depending on the drug's commercial success.