Novo Nordisk, undaunted by Exubera's performance, continues developing AERx

PHILADELPHIA Novo Nordisk will not let Pfizer’s halt to manufacturing inhaled insulin product Exubera stop it from continuing to develop a new inhaled insulin drug called AERx, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The drug is now in late-stage patient studies and if all goes well, the company expects to launch the product in 2010 or 2011. Novo Nordisk also realizes that the drug will not be as big of a seller as Pfizer had expected Exubera would be; Pfizer expected annual sales of $2 billion for the drug.

Novo Nordisk will also look to aim at certain populations for this drug, such as the elderly and women who have pregnancy-related diabetes. The company is also concerned at long-term uses of the drug, as it may cause lung problems.

Martin Soeters, president of Novo Nordisk’s U.S. unit, said that studies of AERx so far have been “clean” from a safety standpoint.