What happened

Shares of MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) fell by as much as 11% on moderate volume in early-morning trading today. The culprit? The biotech's stock appears to be reacting to the disappointing scrip numbers for its inhaled insulin product, Afrezza, in early December. The key concern is that MannKind appears destined to miss consensus again on revenue when it reports fourth-quarter earnings next year -- that is, unless something dramatic happens in the last few weeks of December.

A graph of a negative trend drawn on a chalkboard

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Despite a favorable label change that breathed new life into the company earlier this year, Afrezza still isn't selling well enough to change MannKind's outlook in the near -- or long -- term. MannKind will probably have to dilute shareholders yet again in early 2018, simply to keep itself afloat. Afrezza, after all, is projected to bring in around a mere $25.7 million in sales next year, while the company burned through over $23 million last quarter alone.

Now what

To be frank, MannKind's day of reckoning seems close at hand. The company can't get Afrezza to gain traction in the marketplace, and it's running out of resources to throw at the effort. In fact, MannKind is at the stage where it's probably going to need to dilute shareholders every other quarter simply to keep up its doors open -- that's not a winning scenario for shareholders. Heading into the end of the year, MannKind comes across as a strong candidate to sell for tax purposes.