25 March 2010
The insulin, trade name AFREZZA, is orally inhaled for absorption via the lung.
Even as AFREZZA awaits approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it was described at the 239th American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Francisco.
According to Andrea Leone-Bay and colleagues at MannKind Corporation, the new insulin product uses the Technosphere technology, a delivery technology that is applicable to a wide variety of other drugs that are currently injected.
Like insulin, these medications are proteins that would be digested and destroyed in the stomach if taken by mouth.
One such product, MKC-180, is a Technosphere formulation of a natural hormone that controls appetite and is under investigation as a therapy for obesity using pulmonary delivery.
Leone-Bay said: "In nonclinical studies remarkable reductions in food intake have been observed."
MannKind is also evaluating Technosphere technology with drugs that treat pain and osteoporosis.
Leone-Bay said: "Our proprietary Technosphere Technology platform is based on particles formed by the self-assembly of a small molecule.
Drugs can be loaded onto these particles, which are then dried to form a dry powder. Using a thumb-sized device, patients inhale a small amount of the powder, roughly equivalent to a pinch of salt. This powder dissolves immediately after inhalation and the drug is absorbed into the patient's bloodstream. Most importantly, the drug is absorbed ultra-rapidly so it becomes effective much more quickly than an injection of the same drug. For some drugs, ultra-rapid systemic delivery provides distinct clinical advantages over injection, including profiles that match the body''s natural responses in processes like hormone secretion."
AFREZZA (insulin human rDNA origin) Inhalation Powder is an ultra-rapid acting insulin intended for use at mealtime to control the rapid rise in blood sugar levels that occurs in people with diabetes immediately after a meal. At other times, people with diabetes would take injections of other kinds of insulin.
Leone-Bay said AFREZZA controls glucose as well as current state-of-the-art treatments, poses a lower risk of hypoglycemia than that typically associated with mealtime insulin therapy, and leads to less weight gain compared to other insulin treatments.
She added: "Additionally, and importantly, AFREZZA provides the unique benefit of a small, discreet, and easier-to-use inhalation device."