The long suffering MannKind Corp $MNKD is pocketing $55 million as it launches a new collaboration with United Therapeutics to use its tech to develop a dry powder formulation of the pulmonary arterial hypertension drug treprostinil.
Shares in the biotech — which developed an inhaled insulin that diabetics have largely shunned — rocketed up 46% on the positive turn of events at MannKind.
The money breaks down to a $45 million upfront, an immediate payment of $10 million for research and $50 million in milestones, bringing the total on treprostinil to a potential $105 million — plus royalties. United also has the right to grab options on other pulmonary hypertension products to the tune of $40 million each for an option plus milestones.
This deal lands as United CEO Martine Rothblatt works to guard against generic competition for this drug — including Tyvaso, its current inhaled PAH drug. The company has been at work on next-gen tech like this, as well as buying rival SteadyMed, with an eye to retaining longterm control of its key franchises.
“On the very same day 21 years ago, we enabled the development of treprostinil into a practical treatment thanks to an invention of the late Al Mann – the discrete, ambulatory, programmable, parenteral infusion pump called the MiniMed 407c,” said Rothblatt in a statement. “By marrying our molecule and MiniMed’s device, Remodulin was born. As we now move into the second generation of United Therapeutics products, we are proud to once again team with Al Mann’s brilliance, this time with his Dreamboat, Bluhale and Cricket devices for inhalation. I believe these revolutionary new inhalation devices will accomplish for Tyvaso what our recently-approved Implantable System for Remodulin, pending RemUnity system and recently-acquired Trevyent product represent for Remodulin – a further step toward a next generation of treprostinil drug-device systems that enhance options for patients, their families and their prescribers.”
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