Recently, pre-clinical data on MannKind Corporation’s IRE1α inhibitor was published in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology. IRE1α inhibitor, MKC-3946, showed potential for being developed for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Results showed that the growth of myeloma cells was inhibited without normal cells being impacted.
The study was conducted by the researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in collaboration with MannKind. MannKind’s IRE-1α inhibitor MKC-3946 may have potential applications in other indications as well such as breast, brain and pancreatic cancers, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and certain metabolic disorders.
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer which is incurable and has a five-year relative survival rate of approximately 41 percent, which is the lowest among all cancers. According to MannKind, around 21,700 adults in the US would be afflicted by multiple myeloma in 2012 with approximately 10,710 people dying from the disease.
Currently available multiple myeloma treatments include Celgene Corporation’s (CELG - Analyst Report) Thalidomid and Revlimid and Takeda’s Velcade.
While we are pleased with the pre-clinical data and the potential to develop MKC-3946 for cancer, we note that the candidate is several years away from the market.
MannKind is primarily focusing on the development of its lead pipeline candidate Afrezza. Afrezza is currently in two late-stage studies - MKC-171 and MKC-175. MannKind expects to complete the trials in early 2013 and file a New Drug Application by the first half of 2013.
Currently, we have a Neutral recommendation on MannKind, which carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating). We expect investor focus to remain on Afrezza.