Good year, bad year? Two biotech CEOs hit pay dirt in 2018 as com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages swell

By any ac­count­ing mea­sure, John Oyler had a big year last year, steer­ing BeiGene to a mon­ster $903 mil­lion Hong Kong IPO, then watch­ing the stock lan­guish as the Chi­na-based biotech put its PD-1 on a track to reg­u­la­tors. But what­ev­er short­com­ings may have been in the mix at BeiGene, they didn’t pre­vent the CEO from scor­ing one of the rich­est com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages in bio­phar­ma.

In a re­cent fil­ing with the SEC BeiGene $BGNE re­vealed that the com­pa­ny founder made off with a com­pen­sa­tion deal worth $27.9 mil­lion, a big step up from the $10.3 mil­lion he snagged in 2017 and the rel­a­tive­ly mod­est $4.6 mil­lion he got for 2016 — the year BeiGene’s first IPO hit Nas­daq. 

The big stock awards he got put him as the new num­ber 2 on our pay chart, just be­hind Kare Schultz at Te­va and just ahead of John Mil­li­gan, ex-CEO at Gilead.

Xi­aobin Wu

The big­ger pack­age at the top didn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly trans­late in­to big rais­es for the rest of the team at BeiGene. CMO for hema­tol­ogy Jane Huang nailed a pack­age that was worth $3.4 mil­lion, up from $3 mil­lion the year be­fore. About the same for CMO-I/O Amy Pe­ter­son. But Oyler’s new Chi­na man­ag­er re­cruit­ed last April, Xi­aobin Wu, bagged an im­pres­sive $21.5 mil­lion, which would fall in the mid­dle of the pack for the best paid Big Phar­ma CEOs who have re­port­ed so far.

This past year is prov­ing quite a boon for biotech CEOs, where pay can vary from one year to the next. As we re­port­ed ear­li­er this week, Nick Leschly made out hand­some­ly among the rest of the field, with a com­pen­sa­tion deal that tops out at $24 mil­lion. He made $8.7 mil­lion the year be­fore.

Fur­ther spot­light­ing the bo­nan­za trend, I see that Alk­er­mes $ALKS CEO Richard Pops, who had one of the worst years in the in­dus­try, al­so man­aged to cut a big­ger slice of the ex­ec­u­tive pay pie for 2018. Dur­ing the year, we car­ried a string of re­ports on the com­pa­ny’s big pitch for a new de­pres­sion drug, which had been bur­dened by too much bad da­ta. 

The FDA nev­er tired of shoot­ing them down, de­spite the protests.

Richard Pops

Pops, it turns out, nev­er­the­less bagged a $17 mil­lion com­pen­sa­tion pack­age, up from $9.4 mil­lion. CMO Craig Hop­kin­son picked up $3.8 mil­lion.


Top im­age: John Oyler, the founder and CEO of BeiGene, at #BI­IS18, the US-Chi­na Bio­phar­ma In­no­va­tion and In­vest­ment Sum­mit in Shang­hai on Oc­to­ber 23, 2018  End­points News, Pharm­Cube

Novotech CRO Ex­pands Chi­na Team as Biotech De­mand for Clin­i­cal Tri­als In­creas­es up to 79%

An increase in demand of up to 79% for clinical trials in China has prompted Novotech the Asia-Pacific CRO to rapidly expand the China team, appointing expert local clinical executives to their Shanghai and Hong Kong offices. The company is planning to expand their team by 30% over the next quarter.

Novotech China has seen considerable demand recently which is borne out by research from GlobalData:
A global migration of clinical research is occurring from high-income countries to low and middle-income countries with emerging economies. Over the period 2017 to 2018, for example, the number of clinical trial sites opened by biotech companies in Asia-Pacific increased by 35% compared to 8% in the rest of the world, with growth as high as 79% in China.
Novotech CEO Dr John Moller said China offers the largest population in the world, rapid economic growth, and an increasing willingness by government to invest in research and development.
Novotech’s 23 years of experience working in the region means we are the ideal CRO partner for USA biotechs wanting to tap the research expertise and opportunities that China offers.
There are over 22,000 active investigators in Greater China, with about 5,000 investigators with experience on at least 3 studies (source GlobalData).

Daniel O'Day [via AP Images]

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead un­leash­es a $5B late-stage cash al­liance with Gala­pa­gos — lay­ing out O'­Day's R&D strat­e­gy

Daniel O’Day is executing his first major development deal since taking over as CEO of Gilead $GILD. And he’s going in deep to ally himself with a longstanding partner.

O’Day announced today that he is spending $5 billion in cash to add new late-stage drugs to Gilead’s pipeline, picking up rights to Galapagos’ $GLPG Phase III IPF drug GLPG1690 alongside adoption of the biotech’s Phase IIb drug GLPG1972 for osteoarthritis. And Gilead is also putting billions more on the table for milestones, gaining options for everything else in Galapagos’ pipeline, with a shot at all rights outside of Europe.

Altogether, Gilead is gaining rights to 6 clinical-stage assets, 20 preclinical programs and everything else being hatched in translation.

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Hal Barron [File photo]

Hal Bar­ron's team at GSK scores a win with pos­i­tive Ze­ju­la PhI­II front­line study — now comes the hard part

Score one for Hal Barron and the new R&D team steering GlaxoSmithKline’s pipeline.

The pharma giant reported this morning that its recently acquired PARP, Zejula (niraparib), hit the primary endpoint on progression-free survival in a frontline maintenance setting for women suffering ovarian cancer — following chemo and regardless of their BRCA status.

GSK bet $5 billion on the Tesaro buyout primarily to get this drug, drawing the shaking heads of biopharma. Why pay a big premium for a drug like this when AstraZeneca was going from strength to strength with Lynparza, ran the argument, having won a hugely important accelerated approval to jump out ahead — way ahead — of the rest of the PARP players? Lynparza — now co-owned by a powerhouse cancer team at Merck — won the first approval in frontline maintenance in ovarian cancer.

Alk­er­mes adds bipo­lar I dis­or­der to its FDA wish­list; Con­go con­firms first Ebo­la case in large city

→ An ever-ambitious Alkermes $ALKS team plans to add bipolar I disorder to its list of conditions for ALKS-3831, which it plans to pitch to the FDA in Q4. Alkermes says they were persuaded to add bipolar I disorder after a pre-NDA meeting with the agency, which came about 7 months after the biotech reported positive data for schizophrenia. The drug is a combo using olanzapine/samidorphan, which they hope will be shown to be as effective as olanzapine without the substantial increase in the risk of weight gain.

Pe­ter Kolchin­sky and Raj Shah raise a $300M fund de­vot­ed to biotech star­tups

Peter Kolchinsky and Raj Shah have another $300 million-plus to play with on the biotech venture side of their investment business. 

The two announced Monday morning that they’ve put together their first pure-play venture fund at RA Capital Management, which has been known to bet on just about every angle in healthcare investing — from rounds to follow-on investments at public companies. This new fund of theirs arrives well into a go-go era of new startup financing, with a particular focus on building new biotechs.

Boehringer buys Swiss biotech in its lat­est M&A deal, go­ing the next-gen can­cer vac­cine route

Boehringer Ingelheim has snapped up a Swiss biotech startup and added their group as a new platform for the oncology pipeline. 

The German biopharma company has bagged Geneva-based AMAL Therapeutics, paying out an unspecified upfront in a $358 million deal — cash, milestones and everything else, all in. Plus there’s 100 million euros on the line for commercial milestones.

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Ab­b­Vie beefs up the on­col­o­gy pipeline, bag­ging an up­start STING play­er with its own unique ap­proach

AbbVie isn’t letting its $63 billion buyout of Allergan stop its M&A/deals team from continuing their work.

Monday morning we learned that the pharma giant is snapping up tiny Mavupharma out of Seattle, a Frazier-backed startup that has its own unique take on STING — which is on the threshold of their first clinical trial.

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Billing it­self as the first AI biotech to launch hu­man tri­als, Re­cur­sion adds $121M C round

Billing itself as the first AI biotech with programs in the clinic, Salt Lake City-based Recursion now has a $121 million bankroll to start gathering human data to see if it’s on the right track. 

“We’re trying to build this discovery engine,” Recursion CEO Chris Gibson tells me ahead of the C round news. “We now have the first two programs in the clinic.” And that, he adds, qualifies as a first for any AI establishment “that actually have something in the clinic.”

FDA bats back As­traZeneca's SGLT di­a­betes drug for Type 1 di­a­betes — block­ing a class on safe­ty fears

The FDA has just fired its latest salvo at the SGLT class of diabetes drugs, blowing up some commercial opportunity at AstraZeneca as part of the collateral damage.

The pharma giant reported early Monday that the FDA has rejected its blockbuster drug Farxiga for Type 1 diabetes that can’t be controlled by insulin. And while the pharma giant maintained its usual grim silence in the face of a setback, this one should be easy to interpret.