Some Early Gifts

Some Early Gifts

As everyone gears up for the Thanksgiving holiday we thought with Christmas and Hanukkah following shortly thereafter we’d hand out a few gifts.  So let’s get to it;

To all the MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) Supporters – A New CEO?

Last week we learned that Hakan Edstrom after less than a year in the position stepped down as CEO. Taking over for Edstrom, at least temporarily is the company’s founder and main benefactor Al Mann. The question is who would be dumb enough to take the job? Here we are Thanksgiving week which basically means that in just over 4 weeks Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) can terminate their partnership with MannKind. A move which looks to be more likely as sales of Afrezza continue to disappoint.

Given the many issues facing the company it’s questionable whether without Sanofi as a partner the company can remain a going concern. The reality is other than Afrezza the company has nothing of any substance in their pipeline. The reality is MannKind bet the farm on Afrezza and lost.

Now we are aware of one person who just might be interested in the job, someone who is intimately familiar with MannKind – yep none other than Chris Viehbacher the former CEO of Sanofi who pushed for the MannKind partnership before he got beheaded. A move which is beginning to look like a good one as Chris has a few items he’ll need to clean up before he takes over.

Check out this excellent piece from the CNBC web site http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/20/sanofi-whistleblower-lawsuit-kicks-into-higher-gear.html. Yes it seems that besides pissing off the French Chris was also doing his best Richard Nixon impersonation. We always suspected that there was more to the beheading and now we know.  No Chris has not been convicted of anything but one thing is certain Serge and his fellow board members have learned the first rule when your company is guilty of wrongdoing, fire the CEO and cover you tracks. Maybe Serge isn’t the dime light we thought he was, but then again….

As long as we’re on talking about Sanofi last week the company also made big news when they announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). According to jointly issued press release;

“Sanofi and AstraZeneca today announced a direct exchange of 210,000 compounds from their respective, proprietary compound libraries. The exchange represents a novel, open innovation model of collaboration between two leading pharmaceutical companies. It will enhance the chemical diversity of the compound collections of both companies and allow each company to screen a broader, more diverse chemical space as the starting point in the search for new, small-molecule medicines.”

Listen when I was a kid Momma Kliff used to say two wrongs don’t make a right but then again Momma Kliff never witnessed how these companies have mismanaged their respective diabetes franchises. So for anyone worried that either company will discover something the other has not, no need to concern yourself given their respective track records all they’ll do is screw it up anyway.

Given that Sanofi is the gift that keeps on giving one more thing, for everyone who believes that the company’s partnership with Google will result in anything of substance, think again. Sanofi has screwed up more partnerships in diabetes than Santa has stops on his route.

In the good news category according to study by Dr Nancy Brown, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Viagra (sildenafil) improved “insulin sensitivity” in overweight, pre-diabetic people.  Needless to say the good people at Lilly (NYSE:LLY) jumped all over this piece of news and are now actively looking for study participants as they want to show that Cialis outperforms Viagra in this category. While Lilly has a pretty comprehensive diabetes portfolio already think of the edge they would have if Cialis was approved as a diabetes treatment. Diabetic Investor suspects if this occurs it would have a bigger impact than the Jardiance cardiovascular data. Heck when was the last time any guy walked into a doctor’s office and demanded to be put on any medication.

But wait it gets better as surly Pfizer would fight back and do another study with both the male and female version of Viagra. Perhaps this is Pfizer’s way back into diabetes, perhaps this will take some of the sting out of blowing $4 billion and yes that billion with a capital B on Exubera.  A product which it just so happens was under the supervision of Olivier Brandicourt, yes the same Olivier Brandicourt who now has Afrezza under his watch.

Yep that’s the wacky world of diabetes in a nutshell right there. Have a great week everyone and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.