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Novo becomes second company to discontinue inhaled insulin device


NEW YORK Novo Nordisk has discontinued the development of its experimental inhaled insulin device, the AERx inhaler and, as a result, has taken a hit of $260 million, according to Bloomberg. The company also said the product offered little clinical benefit.

This is the second new insulin product to be discarded in the past year. The first was Pfizer a few months ago, when it stopped manufacturing its new inhaled insulin Exubera, which—when first announced—was thought to be a breakthrough for Pfizer and would help the company deal with the loss of Lipitor once it lost its patent protection. Pfizer lost $2.8 billion to rid itself of Exubera.

According to Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo’s chief scientific officer, “Pfizer’s decision on Exubera prompted this. We have realized that the trend is for physicians to start treatment with something simple rather than a device that has to be loaded with insulin for each mealtime use.”

Eli Lilly, however, is staying with its development of an inhaled insulin product. Lilly’s AIR inhaled insulin is in the final phase of testing required for U.S. regulatory approval.

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