Entrepreneur Bets $1 Billion On Drug Success
Serial entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann has put nearly $1 billion of his own money into developing insulin that can be inhaled. Pfizer, the world's biggest drug company, last month said it would take a $2.8 billion charge and abandon a similar product after selling only $12 million worth of inhaled insulin in the first nine months of the year.
Mann, the 82-year-old CEO and controlling shareholder of the MannKind Corp., is not deterred. He says his company's inhalable insulin is not just a way to avoid needles but medically superior to Pfizer's product and to injected insulin. Despite his remarkable entrepreneurial career--Mann has founded more than a dozen aerospace and medical device companies--some wonder whether he has so much invested in this latest effort, both financially and emotionally, that he cannot see any odds against him.
MannKind, which has spent about more than $700 million on its insulin, has attracted some prominent investors. But it also has faced skepticism and has not yet attracted a big pharmaceutical company to market its drug and to help defray development costs.