Nektar Therapeutics, the company which supplied the drug delivery technology for Pfizer’s inhaled insulin product Exubera, says the product is on track to be launched onto the market in the middle of July.

Meanwhile, new data presented at the American Diabetes Association backed up the long-term safety and efficacy of Exubera, which was delayed en route to market on concerns that long-term use could reduce lung function.

Two ongoing studies of Exubera presented at the ADA showed that any changes in lung function associated with treatment were small, occurred early on after treatment started and did not progress. Meanwhile, the drug achieved sustained blood glucose control over two years, alleviating fears that recipients may eventually develop tolerance to inhaled insulin.

The studies also revealed that patients on Exubera gained about half as much weight as those on injectable insulin. Both are scheduled to continue for another five years.

Exubera was finally approved in the USA January, but its launch there had been delayed by Pfizer’s decision to develop an educational programme for the drug in order to ensure it is used most effectively. It is also approved in Europe and has been introduced in Germany and Ireland, with the UK expected to be the next market for the drug.