Shares of Valencia-based biomed MannKind Corp. shot up 23 percent Tuesday to 92 cents after the company released details of a nonexclusive deal to license its technology to an independent group that will develop new pharmaceutical products.
Meanwhile the international news agency Reuters spread rumors Tuesday afternoon that MannKind “is exploring strategic options, including the sale of itself.” Reuters cited unnamed “people familiar with the matter” in saying the company is “working with investment bankers on options.”
MannKind shares momentarily topped $10 in mid-2014 when the FDA finally approved its inhalable insulin drug Afrezza on the third try. Share prices have been in a death spiral since that time; a promising agreement with the European drug distributor Sanofi never bore fruit. The two companies formally parted ways Jan. 5.
Then, late last week, MannKind announced a new licensing deal with an independent company, Receptor Life Science Inc., “to use MannKind’s Technosphere technology as the platform upon which the licensee will develop its pharmaceutical product.”
According to new information MannKind released on its website, the agreement, effective Jan. 20, could be worth $102.5 million in milestone payments to MannKind, plus royalties based on product sales.
MannKind described Receptor as being “funded by an important investor group, supported by prominent business leaders in the Seattle area.”
MannKind said its Technoshpere technology “is to be used as a vehicle to deliver regulated doses of a proprietary compound to treat a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, spasticity and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.” MannKind said the technology facilitates “the immediate delivery of a consistent and precise dosage of the prescribed amount of an active therapeutic compound, while reducing unwanted side effects. In addition, MannKind’s inhalers are convenient, discreet and easy-to-use from patients’ perspective as well as being a robust and low-cost delivery system from a manufacturing perspective.”
MannKind said the agreement is “exclusive only to the compounds used by the licensee, which are proprietary to them in any case. It does not prevent us from entering into other licensing agreements with other companies, even in the same therapeutic area, so long as they use different active compounds.”