Exubera Success May Hinge on Usability
Ryan, who has a buy rating on Pfizer, said "many doctors" believe some patients will have trouble gauging their ideal dose when inhaling Exubera. The best potential customers will be "motivated patients who were new to insulin therapy," she said. Ryan doesn't own shares, but her firm has provided services to Pfizer.
Several researchers at the ADA convention pointed out that technology improves over time, and that's been the case for insulin administration. Where once big needles were used for injections, now there are much smaller devices and pumps. The first insulin pump was the size of a backpack. Now, they're as small as cell phone or pagers.
As for insulin inhalers, Pfizer and Nektar will be pressed to improve Exubera not only for greater patient convenience, but also because of competition. Several companies are testing devices resembling anything from a cell phone to an asthma inhaler. Some potential competitors appear to offer "sleeker devices and more convenient administration," Arnold says.
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