Pfizer looks to spike the Exubera 'bong'

Share this article:

Pfizer is working on two next-generation delivery devices for its inhaled insulin, Exubera -- disappointing sales of which have been blamed, in part, on its unwieldy design, which has drawn comparisons to that of a water bong.

Devices in development are much smaller than the current Exubera delivery system, said Martin Mackay, Pfizer's VP of Global Research & Development, during a breakout session at UBS's Global Life Sciences Conference in New York today.

Mackay acknowledged that Exubera has been a “disappointment” for Pfizer but contended the company is still “very hopeful” about the product's ability to help patients.

“This is often the case when you are so novel,” Mackay said. “There's a good reason it will take many years to nail it (Exubera). We are working through that right now.”

Sales of Exubera were at $4 million for the second quarter of 2007, company figures show.

MacKay did not give a time frame for completion and/or filing of either of the new Exubera devices, but Pfizer would need to be quick on the draw if it wants to compete with Eli Lilly, which yesterday revealed plans to file for a small easy-to-use inhalable insulin device that fits into the patient's hand, similar to the size of a cell phone.

The Lilly pulmonary drug delivery system for diabetes, based on a technology called “Air,” is being co-developed with Alkermes. It was one of six late-stage products highlighted in a presentation by the Indianapolis-based drugmaker on Tuesday at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference.

A late-stage trial of Lilly's inhaled insulin is slated to wrap in time for the firm to submit the product in 2009, said Bryce Carmine, Lilly global brand director.

In June, Pfizer's president of worldwide pharmaceutical operations Ian Read announced a “full-court press” behind Exubera in an effort to ramp up sales after the drug experienced a delayed launch. The push includes DTC advertising which began this month and specialized sales force support.

Meanwhile, Mackay said Pfizer is also continuing to look for ways to extend the patent life of $12 billion dollar selling cholesterol drug Lipitor through potential combinations or licensings following the failure of the developmental Lipitor/torcetrapib combo last year.

“We had such high hopes for torcetrapib…we are still looking,” Mackay said.

“But the window for being able to do that has narrowed,” he explained.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Channel

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, September 15

Five things for pharma marketers to know: ...

Pharma has sought 76 meetings with FDA over biosimilars; Gilead licenses Sovaldi to India generic drugmakers; Pfizer and Ranbaxy Lipitor lawsuit dismissed.

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Why Novo Nordisk is choosing not to leverage Victoza's brand equity as it seeks a weight-loss indication for liraglutide.

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, September 12

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, ...

An FDA panel voted in favor of liraglutide for weight loss; Allergan investors backing an attempted takeover of the firm crossed a critical threshold; and 100 million health wearables are ...