MannKind Founder Alfred E. Mann, 90, Dies

Mann spent $1 billion of his own money to bring Afrezza to market. The Los Angeles Times reported he died in Las Vegas.

Just a week after leaving the board of a company he founded, MannKind founder Alfred E. Mann has died at age 90.

Mann, who died Thursday, was remembered as a philanthropist and entrepreneur who founded 17 companies, 3 of which became public. Ten were acquired at a value of more than $10 billion, according to GEN Highlights.

Almost half the total that total came from Medtronic’s acquisition of MiniMed, which developed insulin pumps for persons with diabetes.

A later diabetes venture to deliver insulin has proved less successful and even controversial thus far. MannKind’s development of Afrezza, an inhaled insulin delivered through a device that fits in the palm of the hand, took several tries to get FDA approval and then only succeeded with requirements that included spirometry to rule out patients with compromised lung function.

Mann spent more than $1 billion of his own money to bring Afrezza to market, and he briefly replaced the CEO last winter as the company fell woefully short of sales targets when payers refused to cover the product without prior authorization. Some patients have raved about the product’s ability to keep glycemic levels tightly in check, but Sanofi announced in early January it was ending an agreement to market the product.

In recent weeks, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Pfeffer took the helm and Mann left the board, though he was to stay on in a consulting capacity.

The Los Angeles Times, quoting Pfeffer, said Mann died in Las Vegas, where he spent most of his time.