Pfizer ( PFE) said a committee of the European Medicines Agency issued a positive opinion recommending approval of Exubera, an inhalable form of insulin, for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Exubera, the product of a development program between France's Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY) and Pfizer, is inhaled into the lungs prior to a meal, using a device and powdered insulin formulation developed by Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR).

Last month, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted to recommend approval for Exubera, despite concerns about the drug's long-term effects, especially on people with lung disease.

The U.S. panel voted 7-2 to support the product to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If it's approved, Exubera would be the first inhaled insulin product for sale.

Pfizer said that in Europe, about 22.5 million people have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% to 95% of all diagnosed cases.

Shares of Pfizer, based in New York, were down 27 cents, or 1%, to $24.57. Nektar was higher by 6% to $15.95, and Sanofi-Aventis shares slipped 0.4% to $40.75.

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