MannKind Corporation shares plunged as much as 3.78% to $5.54 on Monday after the company announced that its founder Alfred Mann has stepped down from the position of CEO. The company board has appointed Hakan Edstrom as its new CEO, effective immediately. Mr Mann will become executive chairman. He will remain engaged with the biopharmaceutical company in business matters, including financing and development of its future therapies.

MannKind Corporation Names Hakan Edstrom New CEO

Edstrom has been with MannKind since 2001

Hakam Edstrom joined MannKind in 2001 as its president and chief operating officer. Even after assuming the role of CEO, he will continue to act as president. Before joining MannKind, Edstrom worked with Bausch & Lomb. Hakam Edstrom said in a statement that he was “honored to succeed Al.” His appointment comes at a time when MannKind is gearing up to launch its first drug Afrezza in the first quarter this year.

The USFDA approved Afrezza in June last year. In August, MannKind reached a worldwide licensing agreement with Sanofi to market Afrezza. Under the terms of the deal, MannKind received $150 million upfront payment from its French partner, and stands to receive up to $775 million in various milestone payments linked to manufacturing, regulatory and sales milestone. Last week, the company received $50 million from Sanofi in the first milestone payment.

MannKind to present at JPMorgan Conference on Jan.14

The Valencia-based company will also get a share of profits from the sales of Afrezza. MannKind’s diabetes treatment uses its proprietary Technosphere formulation technology. The company looks to develop other therapies enabled by the Technosphere platform. Success of Afrezza will be key to MannKind’s future. Analysts estimate that the drug could generate more than $3.65 billion in annual sales by 2025. But Afrezza will likely cost more than the traditional insulin injections, which could hamper its sales.

On Wednesday, January 14, the company will present at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. At the event, MannKind is expected to provide further details on Afrezza launch.