About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Amgen: The Pythian Oracle Laughs Again | Main | Layoffs - Again »

April 11, 2007

Exubera: This Time With Feeling

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Looks like my doubts about the potential of Pfizer's inhaled insulin Exubera were well-founded. Pfizer's having some trouble making headway, and have announced a re-launch of the product. Needless to say, you don't re-launch products that are performing up to expectation.

When I wrote about the product a year or so ago, various dissenting comments on that post used phrases like "grand slam", "smash hit", and the ever-popular "blockbuster". It hasn't happened, though, and odds are lengthening that it ever will.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Diabetes and Obesity


1. peej on April 11, 2007 5:06 PM writes...

Looking back - the best quote had to be:
I do investment research and write the ChangeWave Biotech Investor newsletter and much of my work is based on surveys of physicians and other folks in the healh care industry -- not blind surveys but monthly surveys of people we have worked with for more than five years. Bottom line: Exubera will be a smash hit, based on the same surveys that predicted the success of Amylin's Byetta.

I think we all know now what newsletter we should look at with a jaundiced eye!

It was pretty clear from the beginning that Exubera was not going to be huge - it did not really obviate needles, its a huge delivery device that you need to lug around, and oral meds control type 2 DM fairly well - when you need insulin, Exubera wont do it alone. And all this for a big price tag and hovering respiratory safety concerns.

Permalink to Comment

2. CR on April 12, 2007 6:39 AM writes...

Add to this the fact that Pfizer paid Sanofi-Aventis $1.3B for the exclusive rights to Exubera (Exubera was a joint venture between Pfizer and Aventis--and when Sanofi bought Aventis, Pfizer exercised their right to buy the drug). So, the initial drug launch was not a huge success, and already down $1.3B...

Permalink to Comment

3. industry guy on April 12, 2007 7:01 AM writes...


I heard Pfizer Groton laid off several Ph.D chemists yesterday (11th) without any warning. Heard anything? Rumor has it they want to get to a 4:1 associate:Ph.D ratio...

Permalink to Comment

4. tom bartlett on April 12, 2007 7:45 AM writes...

"Rumor has it they want to get to a 4:1 associate:Ph.D ratio..."

It's a crime to ask for more associates?

Permalink to Comment

5. weirdo on April 12, 2007 10:00 AM writes...

I don't think they're adding associates to get to 4:1 -- they're reducing Ph.D.'s.

Permalink to Comment

6. Devices R Us on April 12, 2007 11:55 AM writes...

I think it is a bit too early to really tell the whole story about inhaled insulin. I am also not sure at all that "oral drugs control T2 well" is really true except very early in the disease continuum. My take is that the problems with Exubera are indeed the device, not the efficay and probably not the safety issues either. We will know lots more about the whole area when the next generation inhaled insulin products (Lilly and Mannkind) that use much more user-friendly devices come to market (if they ever do).

Permalink to Comment

7. George Laszlo on April 16, 2007 4:10 PM writes...

In their exuberance about this product, both Pfizer and Nektar seem to have forgotten that market research may give them a better sense about the market potential for a new product.
In this case they seem to have missed or ignored two key factors: 1. Diabetes specialists, especially endocrinologists, are afraid to prescribe a drug based on the respiratory delivery method lacking any long term effect data, and 2. Patients don't really have a major problem sticking themselves with needles when a much bigger and literally more painful problem is using lancets to draw blood for glucose testing. Ergo, continuous monitoring combined with insulin pumps would provide a much better solution.

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry