Sanofi Aventis (AP Photo)
Sanofi Aventis (AP Photo)
Sanofi Aventis (AP Photo)

(CNBC) – Sanofi launched an inhalable insulin in the United States on Tuesday in a potential boost for its flagging diabetes drug sales and for patient quality of life.

Developed by Mannkind, Afrezza will be the only inhalable insulin on the U.S. market, where Sanofi competes with Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk for sales of traditional injectable insulin.

Inhalation promises to be faster acting and much more convenient than injections, but an inhaled product has failed in the past and there are concerns about the potential risks associated with breathing powdered insulin.

Afrezza, which uses a whistle-sized inhaler and works to control blood-sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, was developed in the shadow of Pfizer’s rival Exubera and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in June.

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