Pfizer has started development on two next generation inhalers with the aim of replacing the underperforming Exubera inhaled insulin device.
Previously touted as the next blockbuster in the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Exubera has been struggling to make an indent in the market since its launch last year.
Pfizer noted in its second quarter results that sales were "disappointing" with just $4m (€2.8m) of worldwide revenues recorded for the second quarter.
In June, Bespak, one of the device's manufacturers, announced it would cut 160 jobs as a result of the slow uptake of the drug, and then in August, fellow Exubera device manufacturer West Pharmaceutical Services announced it would scale back production in the third quarter of this year to one shift per day.
Despite the drug not looking to be the $2bn blockbuster Pfizer expected it to be, the US drug giant has remained positive about Exubera's future.
According to Pfizer's website: "Exubera , [is] the world's first form of inhaled insulin for the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, which offers life-altering treatment options to patients.
"Although this is a breakthrough in Diabetes treatment and delivery technology, we are now working on the next generation of inhaler to make the management of Diabetes even easier."
Pfizer was unavailable for comment about the new delivery devices at time of publishing.
Meanwhile, Eli Lilly is working on a smaller and easy-to-use inhaled insulin device, based on Air technology co-developed with Alkermes, which the company believes is set for submission in 2009.