Lilly's own device, which is about the size of a cell phone, is still two years away from the hitting the market. But Lilly execs are talking up their prospects every chance they get. "Some patients get burned out from four or five injections a day," Carlos Paya, vp of Lilly Research Laboratories and team leader of the inhaled insulin project, tells The Indianapolis Star. "This is an issue of convenience. I think the opportunity is huge."
But skepticism is running high. "It's tough to have one product fail as miserably as Exubera has, and then be bullish on follow-on products," Jon LeCroy, a drug industry analyst for Natexis Bleichroeder, tells the paper. "So until Lilly proves us wrong, they're going to have a rough go of it."
Les Funtleyder, a drug analyst at Miller Tabak, isn't making any forecasts yet, but he isn't expecting much. "I think the market has spoken about inhaled insulin," he says. "Granted, the Pfizer device has some particular issues. But I think if there were some really robust demand for inhaled insulin, it would have been adopted a lot quicker."
Lilly does have one advantage over Pfizer - if approved, its inhaler is unlikely to show up in head shops.