Just by looking at the share price of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), nobody would guess that a product it had just developed was on the verge of potentially becoming a blockbuster treatment for diabetes. That product is a new form of insulin called Exubera, which can be inhaled rather than injected.

Shares of Nektar have steadily declined for the past several months, because Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) -- its marketing partner -- has delayed the expanded launch of the drug to primary-care physicians in the U.S. to January instead of this month. Those primary-care doctors will account for a good portion of the prescriptions.

Nektar announced its third-quarter results yesterday, and even with the delay in the expanded rollout of Exubera, revenue was up 61% to $59 million, with Exubera accounting for $27 million of that. The company's net loss for the quarter was $19.6 million.

Nektar not only receives royalties on Exubera; it also manufactures the drug. Because of higher estimated manufacturing revenues from the drug, Nektar increased its revenue estimates for 2006 by $20 million on the bottom end and $10 million on the top to a range of $190 million to $210 million. Assuming Nektar hits this target, that would put estimated fourth-quarter revenues at $42 million to $62 million -- a big increase over the $32.9 million in last year's fourth quarter.

Some Nektar investors might also be vexed that the delay in Pfizer's expanded launch of Exubera will also delay Nektar's profitability. For 2007, the company expects to lose $110 million to $130 million (including stock-based compensation charges), so profitability won't come until sometime in 2008 at the earliest, assuming the drug becomes a success.

An investment in Nektar is not just about Exubera. The company has several drugs in its pipeline that it's developing with partners, and it plans to move a proprietary one for treating fungal lung infections into phase 3 trials sometime next year. Regardless of the progress of these products, Nektar's shares will continue to rise and fall based on the outlook for Exubera.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy .