After launching inhalable insulin drug Afrezza last February, MannKind's (NASDAQ:MNKD) stock price slid as the product failed to take off.

In this video segment, Kristine Harjes, Todd Campbell, and Michael Douglass talk about what Sanofi's (NASDAQ:SNY) involvement -- and the recent cessation of said involvement -- means for MannKind, and why savvy investors should be cautious about any big licensing deal in the healthcare sector.

A full transcript follows the video.


This podcast was recorded on Jan. 6, 2016.

Kristine Harjes: I wanted to follow up on a company that we talked about pretty recently on the podcast that had some interesting news. Todd, do you want to go from here?

Todd Campbell: I think it's the perfect time to mention this, because one of the things we're discussing is the various ways that companies tie up with one another. One of those ways is through licensing deals. And one of the most talked about drugs to make it to market in 2015 was MannKind's Afrezza, a drug that has a circuitous path to approval, it's an inhaled insulin, a lot of people thought this could reshape dramatically how diabetics treat themselves on a daily basis. They inked a deal, Sanofi did, with MannKind, Sanofi being the co-marketer. They licensed the rights to the drug to market the drug and to split costs and potential profit. Unfortunately, the deal didn't pan out. Even though the FDA approved Afrezza, and it's been on the market since last February, sales have been anemic.

Harjes: So, Sanofi, as was their right, walked away. They said no.

Campbell: Yeah. We had talked about this in prior episodes, and it's been written about on the Motley Fool website, about how Sanofi had the option to exit the partnership in January, and that was certainly a real risk, given that the sales warrant ramping up. One of the other things that investors always have to look at, and say, "Okay, does the licensing deal make sense? If the drug isn't going to sell, is there a risk that the value in the company that's licensing the drug is going to change dramatically if that person walks away?" And that's exactly what we've seen over the course of the past week, as Sanofi's made its announcement that it's stepping aside. So, I think investors have to realize that just because a company license is a drug doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be a slam dunk, that's the company who developed the drug is going to thrive.

Michael Douglass: Yeah, there are tremendous risks all across the board. And, by the way, Kristine and Todd are both being a little bit humble about this whole thing, so I'm going to go ahead and talk it up a little bit. You both, on a previous episode, had basically been like, "We don't really see it being that likely that Sanofi's going to stay in this deal," and you were right. Here at The Motley Fool, we believe in calling ourselves out when we were wrong, and it happens. It's happened to all of us. But I just want to call out the two of you for nailing this one.

Harjes: Thank you very much, Michael. Probably a good time to remind everybody that people on the show could have interest in the stocks they talk about. The Motley Fool could have formal recommendations for or against, so as much as I know you want to put your faith in just what Todd and I say from here on out, don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.