WOW

WOW

The J P Morgan Healthcare conference is just a few hours old and already there is some stunning news. The first piece of news actually took place before the conference officially began as MannKind (NASDAQ: MNKD) announced that Duane DeSisto would NOT be taking the CEO position as previously announced. According to a company issued press release;

“MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD) (TASE: MNKD) today announced that MannKind has withdrawn its offer to employ Duane M. DeSisto as its President and Chief Executive Officer as a consequence of objections raised by Insulet Corporation, the former employer of Mr. DeSisto, that the employment of Mr. DeSisto by MannKind would violate Insulet’s non-competition agreement with Mr. DeSisto, which is in effect until September 17, 2016.  As a result, Mr. DeSisto will not join MannKind as an officer and director, as previously announced.

The board of directors of MannKind appointed Matthew J. Pfeffer as Chief Executive Officer of MannKind, effective January 10, 2016, replacing Alfred Mann who has been serving as interim CEO since November 19, 2015.  Mr. Pfeffer will continue to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of MannKind.  He was also appointed to fill an existing vacancy on the board of directors, effective January 10, 2016.”

When the news broke Diabetic Investor smelled something fishy and as it turns out that fishy smell is very real. Although no one will go on the record, no surprise, we have confirmed through multiple sources that Mr. DeSisto was NEVER going to assume the role as CEO. While we are still accumulating the gritty details we can state that several well placed experienced diabetes executives were shocked that MannKind even offered the job to Mr. DeSisto.

As we have noted previously Mr. DeSisto departure, more like execution from Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD) was due to poor job performance and some well-known yet not public legal issues. Diabetic Investor suspects MannKind had second thoughts once they discovered these issues and is using the Insulet non-compete as a smoke screen.

Just to be clear Diabetic Investor has reached out to all the parties involved here and not surprisingly no one is commenting.

The question is where does MannKind go from here. Do they attempt to fill the CEO position or just let Mr. Pfeffer manage the company until it eventually implodes? Perhaps another way of asking this is who would be crazy enough to take this job. While MannKind insists they are alive and viable the facts clearly state otherwise. Besides the many well-known financial issues surrounding the company there is Sanofi’s (NYSE: SNY) decision to terminate their partnership. Add in the fact that the time for inhaled insulin has come and gone and what it’s not a pretty picture.

Not like MannKind would take our advice we would like to offer some anyway. Why not reach out to another ex-CE0 who was also beheaded by his company. Although we have not seen Chris Viehbacher wandering around he would make an excellent choice. As everyone knows he is intimately familiar with MannKind as it was Chris who did this deal in the first place even though his own due diligence team was against it.

Knowing the history of MannKind it seems like the primary qualification for the CEO position is chutzpah. A quality that company founder and main benefactor Al Mann had in abundance. A quality also found with Mr. DeSisto who was supposed to replace Al. Although we don’t know Chris as well as we do Al or Duane we would say based on what we have seen he too does not lack chutzpah.

So how about it Chris why not give it a shot as we can think of two great reasons for taking the job. First this would give you the perfect opportunity for payback as you could prove to our good buddy Serge that he and the board made a major mistake by canning you and second it would provide Diabetic Investor with some truly great copy. So be a pal and take the job we’ll even send you a bottle of your favorite wine as an incentive.

The saving grace for MannKind just might be the nature of this wacky world where anything can and usually does happen even when it makes no sense whatsoever. Proof of this comes in the many rumored deals that are in the works. Regular readers may recall that we reported that it looked as if Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) would be acquiring Tandem Diabetes (NASDAQ: TNDM). Although the t:slim insulin pump is well liked by physicians and patients the company is bleeding cash. This cash bleed isn’t getting better and a deal with Medtronic seemed logical as the company could use the t:slim and its very patient user interface as a replacement for their aging Paradigm system.

Diabetic Investor is now hearing that Medtronic is not the only company sniffing around Tandem and none other than … wait for it … our wine drinking friends in France are considering a bid for the company.  Yes, it seems that all the insulin companies are once again interested in insulin delivery systems seeing them as tool to sell more insulin. Listen we know this sounds crazy and we honestly wish we were making this up but we aren’t.

Yet this is not the only rumored deal making the rounds here and this one actually makes sense, that being said it likely won’t happen. Since we are still gathering all the details we don’t want to let the cat of the bag just yet. Let’s just say that a major player is taking a serious look at a company that’s becoming a major player. These two companies already work together yet it is the smaller of the two who would save the larger. Actually they are already saving them. This wouldn’t be a stunner and given the respective valuation of the smaller player it may not happen at all. All we know for sure is executives at the highest level are talking and it’s not about the Powerball jackpot.

Well that’s all for now but we will have much more to come later including news from Intarcia, great presentation, Abbott (NYSE: ABT) nothing really new here, Medtronic no real surprises plus Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) who presents this afternoon. And who knows what other tidbits we’ll pick up along the way after all JPM is a lot like our wacky world where anything can and usually does happen.