04/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Billionaire's Fortune At Risk After Evidence Links Inhaler To Cancer

With the zeal of a young entrepreneur, 82-year-old Los Angeles billionaire and philanthropist Alfred Mann has bet nearly half of his estimated $2.2-billion fortune that he can develop an inhaled version of insulin for the nation's 5 million diabetics.

But Mann's gamble is looking increasingly like a long shot, analysts and doctors say, and his huge personal investment may be in jeopardy.

The latest blow came Wednesday when Valencia-based MannKind Corp.'s stock lost almost 60% of its value after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. said a study showed that its failed version of inhaled insulin might increase the risk of lung cancer.

After dropping much of this year, MannKind shares lost an additional $3.50 on Wednesday, closing at $2.35.

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