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One Giant Leap for MannKind

Billionaire Alfred Mann must not have liked watching stock in the company bearing his name fall to another new low today in the wake of Eli Lilly giving up on inhaled insulin.

Although Alkermes could presumably find another corporate partner to try to rescue its "AIR Insulin" product, MannKind is the only company left still actively developing an inhalable form of diabetic insulin. And so this afternoon, MannKind put out a press release with the header, "MannKind Corporation Response to Recent Market Events", reaffirming its commitment to the device. "MannKind is absolutely commited to the continued development of its lead development product, Technosphere Insulin," the statement says.

The release goes on in detail about the product's safety and efficacy. The company is testing Technosphere on more than 5,000 people and more than 2,000 of them are in a two-year study to specifically measure the impact, if any, on lung function.

Mr. Mann is putting his money where his mouth is and has reportedly invested about a billion dollars from his own bank account in the device. And the company says it has the wherewithal to see it through.

"Currently, MannKind has sufficient financial resources to fund these programs and others (Technosphere and other development pipeline products) through the end of 2009."

And despite the fact that drug giants Lilly , Pfizer and NovoNordisk have all recently gotten out of the inhalable insulin business the release says: "It is MannKind's intention to bring these treatments to patients in collaboration with a leading pharmaceutical partner who shares a commitment to improving the lives of people with diabetes and who understands the difference between MannKind's products and other diabetes therapies on the market today."

MannKind still closed at a new low of $4.99, but well above its intra-day low of $4.25.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com