Alfred E. Mann has resigned as executive chairman of MannKind, the company he founded in 1991 and which now markets an inhaled form of insulin as Afrezza®.
Mann is also resigning from MannKind’s board, but will continue to advise the company as a non-executive employee, the company said today.
The board yesterday named Mann’s successor as chairman, Kent Kresa. He has been a director of MannKind since June 2004, and has served as the board’s lead director since November 2011. Kresa is chairman emeritus of Northrop Grumman, where he previously served as chairman and CEO.
“Al is a true visionary and has created a great company with an impressive lead product and powerful technology to help patients with serious diseases,” Kresa said in a statement. “We have much to do to make his dreams a reality, but we have the people, technology, and know-how to make that happen.”
Added CEO Matthew Pfeffer: “We are awed by his many accomplishments during a legendary career and are proud to continue Al’s decades-long pursuit of addressing the unmet needs of patients with diabetes and other serious illnesses.”
Pfeffer was named CEO effective January 10 after the man previously appointed to the position, Duane M. DeSisto, was unable to accept. DeSisto’s former employer, Insulet, complained that its non-competition agreement with DeSisto, which runs until September 17, 2016, would have been violated had he begun work for MannKind.
Pfeffer succeeded Mann, who returned to the helm as interim CEO in November following the resignation of Hakan Edstrom as president, CEO, and director. Edstrom’s resignation followed weaker-than-projected sales that sparked three rounds of layoffs at the company last year.
The resignation and job cuts contributed to a turbulent few months for the company, capped in January by Sanofi terminating an up-to-$925 million worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with MannKind for Afrezza, after sales failed to match expectations.
For 2015, Sanofi recorded Afrezza sales of €7 million (nearly $7.8 million), of which €2 million ($2.2 million) came during Q4.
Last month, MannKind licensed its formulation and delivery technology for multiple inhaled therapeutic products to Seattle startup Receptor Life Sciences. The deal could generate up to $102.25 million for MannKind tied to achieving milestones, plus royalties.