How much does it cost to hire a top Big Phar­ma ex­ec to run a biotech? Here are 4 (very) fresh ex­am­ples

Let’s say you’re on the board of a small- mid- to mega-sized pub­lic biotech com­pa­ny. If you’re still small, let’s say you’re ei­ther en­gaged in ear­ly com­mer­cial work or ex­pect­ing to start soon. And let’s say, for what­ev­er rea­son, you and your fel­low board mem­bers want a new CEO who of­fers good odds of hit­ting some big goals in the very near fu­ture. Some­one who your in­vestors will stand up and cheer — or at least not con­demn right off the bat.

Some­one who will make you proud and save you from dis­as­ter; who will in­spire grow­ing share val­ues.

The typ­i­cal an­swer is to go find some­one on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of a ma­jor phar­ma com­pa­ny.

But how much does that cost?

I culled 4 very fresh ex­am­ples from the last few weeks for what this CEO can com­mand. And it may sur­prise you just how much they can fetch on this hot mar­ket.

Or not. 

The 4 are Liz Bar­rett, the ex-No­var­tis and Pfiz­er on­col­o­gy chief with ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar com­pa­ny; Mark Mal­lon, who jumped from EVP at As­traZeneca to run the com­mer­cial ops at Iron­wood, post-split; Jack­ie Fouse, who took the helm at Agios last fall af­ter jump­ing from Cel­gene to one of the -vants at Roivant; and Daniel O’Day, who hit the big one with the helm at Gilead.

I would have liked to have in­clud­ed Bahi­ja Jal­lal from Med­Im­mune, who couldn’t have come cheap at Im­muno­core, which needs to re­vamp and re­gain its for­mer uni­corn hue. But they’re still pri­vate, so the num­bers will have to wait.

Key lessons. The guys got paid more up­front, but it’s the eq­ui­ty on the ta­ble that of­fers the “stan­dard rich and fa­mous” clause pegged for suc­cess. Al­so, not all these num­bers are so easy to com­pute, though we’ll give Uro­gen top marks for keep­ing it all on the ta­ble. Fi­nal­ly, a few wrin­kles don’t hurt. All three of our ex­ec­u­tives were in their mid-50s, with­in a year or two of each oth­er, with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence to count on.

Here’s the break­down:

Liz Bar­rett, 56


Com­pa­ny: Uro­gen $URGN

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