Michael Castagna has a big job in front of him. Last month he was appointed chief executive of MannKind Corp., the Valencia biotech company founded by late billionaire Alfred Mann.

It has been a turbulent few years for MannKind and its only commercial product Afrezza, an inhalable insulin. In 2014, the company entered a global licensing agreement with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which took over the manufacturing and marketing of the product. The deal ended less than a year later, after sales disappointed and left investors anxious about MannKind’s future.

Castagna is the company’s third chief executive in two years. However, he is hopeful and he knows a bit when it comes to commercializing drugs. He started out as a pharmacy technician at CVS and continued to work there as he ventured into sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. He said working in proximity with real people has helped him “keep a real-world perspective,” a patient-first philosophy that Mann himself advocated.

Read the full story in the June 12 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.