DeSisto was set to start as CEO and President of MannKind on January 5, but in a release yesterday the firm said it has withdrawn its offer as a consequence of objections raised by Insulet Corporation.
“The employment of Mr. DeSisto by MannKind would violate Insulet's non-competition agreement with Mr. DeSisto, which is in effect until September 17,” the release said.
Insulet is a medical device company whose lead product – the OmniPod Insulin Management System – is being developed as an alternative insulin delivery route for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
MannKind’s lead product is Afrezza, an inhaled insulin which launched in the US last February and administers the drug using its Technosphere technology platform. A dry powder inhaler delivers the formulation to the lungs where the inert excipient FDKP (fumaryl diketopiperazine) with a pH of 6.0 dissolves, allowing insulin to be rapidly absorbed.
CFO Matthew Pfeffer will now lead the company going forward.
MannKind received a blow on the same day DeSisto’s tenure was supposed to commence as partner Sanofi announced it was pulling-out of a commercialisation deal for Afrezza, following underwhelming sales.
The exit has left the firm looking for a partner, but has brought into question the future of inhaled insulin and of MannKind’s financial stability.
At the end of the third quarter last year, the firm’s financials included a debt facility with Deerfield for $80m, $27.6m issued in senior notes, a loan to from then partner Sanofi for $43.7m, and a debt of almost $50m to the Mann Group (led by MannKind founder and former interim CEO Alfred Mann).
On top of this, the firm is obligated to purchase annual minimum quantities of insulin under an Insulin Supply Agreement with Amphastar of an aggregate total of approximately €120m ($130m) between 2015 and 2019. As of September 30, MannKind still owed Amphastar €99m.