Dance Biopharm to develop inhaled insulin with Phillips-Medisize


US biotech Dance Biopharm is to work with Phillips-Medisize, to develop a version of its inhaled insulin device that has data connectivity for better management of diabetes treatment.

Inhaled insulin has become seen as a lost cause in the pharma industry after MannKind struggled to market its Afrezza device in a collaboration with Sanofi after approval in late 2014.

After disappointing sales, Sanofi walked out on the partnership last year, leaving MannKind to relaunch the product.

Afrezza is still on the market, but brings in barely a million dollars per quarter, a drop in the ocean compared with the billion-dollar plus revenues commanded by big diabetes drugs.

Pfizer famously abandoned its Exubera inhaled insulin product 10 years ago over safety concerns, and because patients did not like the large and cumbersome delivery device.

Despite these failures, Dance Biopharm and industrial design specialists Phillips-Medisize believe a revamped version of the experimental drug-device combination Dance 501 will be a winner.

This is a high purity liquid formulation of recombinant human insulin stored in a dispenser for administration with a small handheld electronic inhaler.

The electronic inhaler uses a patented vibrating mesh technology, designed to produce consistently sized particles of liquid insulin in the form of a soft mist, allowing the efficient and consistent delivery of insulin into the lungs in a few breaths.

Providing both software and hardware support, Phillips-Medisize is already involved in the design and manufacture of clinical devices for Dance.

Based on this, Dance has awarded Phillips-Medisize the development work associated with future enhancements to its devices, as well as the commercial manufacturing of Dance's inhaled insulin device when it comes to market.

Dance BioPharm CEO John Patton

John Patton, chairman and CEO of Dance Biopharm, said: "We believe our inhaled insulin product is state of the art and well-differentiated from powder based, non-electronic technology.  It provides a platform for applying advanced digital medicine for diabetes management. We love Phillips-Medisize and the solutions they offer for this aspect of our product.”

"Inhaled insulin offers the possibility of a cost effective, significant improvement in lifestyle - ease-of-use and compliance - for diabetic patients all over the world.  We believe that our convenient soft-mist product candidate may someday improve the lives of millions of patients."

Bill Welch, chief technology officer, Phillips-Medisize, said: "Advancements in drug delivery device technology have created new ways to administer drugs, thereby improving reliability and therapy adherence. Dance's breathable insulin technology will be a game changer for patients living with diabetes."