Pharma major Cipla today said it has entered into an exclusive marketing and distribution agreement with US-based MannKind Corporation for inhaled insulin Afrezza in India. Afrezza is the only USFDA-approved inhaled insulin available for patients suffering from diabetes. Under the agreement, Cipla will be responsible for obtaining regulatory approvals to distribute Afrezza in India, including approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Cipla will also be responsible for all marketing and sales activities of Afrezza in India, a company release said. Available by prescription, Afrezza inhalation powder is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin indicated to improve glycemic control in adult patients with Diabetes Mellitus. "We are committed to providing access to innovative medicines and newer drug delivery systems to the patients. Afrezza, an inhaled insulin, is a cutting-edge product which will increase patient convenience," said Umang Vohra, managing director and global chief executive officer, Cipla. Afrezza consists of a dry powder formulation of human insulin delivered from a small and portable inhaler. Administered at the beginning of a meal, it dissolves rapidly upon inhalation to the lung and passes quickly into the bloodstream (in less than one minute). This rapid absorption allows Afrezza to begin reducing blood sugar levels within about 12 minutes of administration, the release said. "With this partnership, Cipla will leverage its strength in inhalation and extend it to diabetes therapy," said Michael Castagna, chief executive officer, MannKind Corporation. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 425 million people are currently living with diabetes worldwide, including 73 million in India.