Top Picks 2017: MannKind

01/16/2017 6:00 am EST


Nate Pile

Editor, Nate’s Notes and The Wagmore Advisory Letter

My Top Pick for 2017 is one that has been my favorite high-risk speculation for several years; I will need to eat some crow—from behind the egg on my face—if it doesn't finally gain some traction this year, asserts Nate Pile, editor of Nate's Notes.

MannKind Corp. (MNKD) has developed a drug, Afrezza, which is a new form of inhalable insulin that is proving to have many benefits over existing mealtime insulins for diabetics.  

With what turned out to be a less-than-optimal partnership with Sanofi (SNY) now completely behind it, I believe the company is ready to begin scaling-up the marketing presence of Afrezza.  

Not only are patients reporting better control of their blood sugars, they are also reporting that between the drug's efficacy and convenience when traveling.

Though it remains to be seen what the FDA will say, the company has applied for a label change later this year that ought to not only help increase interest in the product, but also make it significantly more difficult for competitors to bully the product around on insurance formularies.

Along with Afrezza -- which is already FDA approved -- MannKind is also applying its Technosphere (TS) drug delivery platform to other drugs that may see an increase in efficacy and convenience if they can be delivered in an inhalable version.

Their lead clinical effort in this area is currently an inhalable version of epinephrine, the drug found the epi-pen.

The company also licensed its TS technology to a very secretive private company from the Seattle area called Receptor Life Sciences that seems to be doing work on cannabis-related products.  

In addition, I believe the licensing deal is a good first example of what I believe will be many such licensing deals in the years ahead as other companies look to develop inhalable versions of their own compounds.

Also, roughly one-third of the float has been sold short. If the story plays out the way I believe it will, there is a possibility that short covering will help to move the stock "further and faster" than it might otherwise go.

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