Scan­gos left Bio­gen in style, tak­ing a fi­nal $17.7M com­pen­sa­tion pack­age for one last, dis­ap­point­ing year

George Scan­gos

When George Scan­gos left Bio­gen at the end of 2016, he left be­hind a fad­ing megablock­buster fran­chise he had helped cre­ate and passed the reins to a large­ly un­known se­nior ex­ec­u­tive who was charged with re­viv­ing an erod­ing share price.

Scan­gos took a fi­nal year com­pen­sa­tion pack­age worth $17.7 mil­lion, boost­ed by stock awards and in­cen­tives that were built around a $1.5 mil­lion salary, ac­cord­ing to a new­ly filed proxy state­ment. That bot­tom line marked an uptick from his pay pack­age in 2015, which weighed in at $16.9 mil­lion, de­spite the grow­ing doubts that af­flict­ed the com­pa­ny.


Michel Vounatsos, who stepped in­to his new job about a week in­to the new year, grabbed $5.8 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion from his orig­i­nal post as com­mer­cial chief. This year he’ll get a base salary of $1.1 mil­lion and a long-term in­cen­tive pack­age worth $10 mil­lion. And new R&D chief Michael Ehlers earned $5.5 mil­lion at his new job, a step be­low the av­er­age $6 mil­lion to $8 mil­lion range earned by most of the phar­ma re­search chiefs in the top 10 last year.

Michael Ehlers, Bio­gen

It’s up to Vounatsos and Ehlers now to de­liv­er on a pipeline that most an­a­lysts would like to see beefed up with new deals. Bio­gen got start­ed with a stronger-than-ex­pect­ed Q1 per­for­mance for its new­ly ap­proved Spin­raza, which has a $750,000 first-year price tag that has been rais­ing eye­brows. And a few days ago the Bio­gen team in­di­cat­ed that they’d be us­ing their check­books to bag new ex­per­i­men­tal drugs, with a $300 mil­lion up­front for Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb.

Vounatsos is still putting his new regime in place, but he says he’ll be all pre­pared to lay out the strat­e­gy for New Bio­gen at the end of Q2. He not­ed in his call with an­a­lysts to­day:

We plan to up­date you on our progress when we re­port our sec­ond quar­ter earn­ings in Ju­ly, but we do not wait with ob­vi­ous ac­tions to be tak­en to sup­port Bio­gen in terms of R&D, BD and com­mer­cial. Our ac­tions will speak for them­selves.

Scan­gos, mean­while, has turned to the start­up world on the West Coast, main­tain­ing a very low pro­file as new head of Vir, a biotech com­pa­ny aim­ing at new ther­a­pies for in­fec­tious dis­eases.

It’s un­like­ly his first year pay in 2017 will come close to what he earned at Bio­gen, but Vir is a pri­vate com­pa­ny and won’t be spelling out those num­bers any­time soon. Be­sides, at that point it’s all about stock op­tions and po­ten­tial up­side for what comes next.

Brent Saunders [Getty Photos]

UP­DAT­ED: Ab­b­Vie seals $63B deal to buy a trou­bled Al­ler­gan — spelling out $1B in R&D cuts

Brent Saunders has found his way out of the current fix he’s in at Allergan $AGN. He’s selling the company to AbbVie for $63 billion in the latest example of the hot M&A market in biopharma.

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Sanofi/Re­gen­eron mus­cle ahead of a ri­val No­var­tis/Roche team, win first ap­proval in key rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis field

Re­gen­eron and their part­ners at Sanofi have beat the No­var­tis/Roche team to the punch on an­oth­er key in­di­ca­tion for their block­buster an­ti-in­flam­ma­to­ry drug Dupix­ent. The drug team scored an ac­cel­er­at­ed FDA ap­proval for chron­ic rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis with nasal polyps, mak­ing this the first such NDA for the field.

An­a­lysts have been watch­ing this race for awhile now, as Sanofi/Re­gen­eron won a snap pri­or­i­ty re­view for what is now their third dis­ease in­di­ca­tion for this treat­ment. And they’re not near­ly done, build­ing up hopes for a ma­jor fran­chise.

Two biotech uni­corns swell pro­posed IPOs, eye­ing a $600M-plus wind­fall

We’ve been wait­ing for the ar­rival of Bridge­Bio’s IPO to top off the wave of new biotech of­fer­ings sweep­ing through Nas­daq at the end of H1. And now we learn that it’s been sub­stan­tial­ly up­sized.

Ini­tial­ly pen­ciled in at a uni­corn-sized $225 mil­lion, the KKR-backed biotech has spiked that to the neigh­bor­hood of $300 mil­lion, look­ing to sell 20 mil­lion shares at $14 to $16 each. That’s an added 5 mil­lion shares, re­ports Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal, which fig­ures the pro­posed mar­ket val­u­a­tion for Neil Ku­mar’s com­pa­ny at $1.8 bil­lion.

No­var­tis holds back the copy­cat brigade's at­tack on its top drug fran­chise — for now

A fed­er­al judge has put a gener­ic chal­lenge to No­var­tis’ block­buster mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis drug Gilenya on hold while a patent fight plays out in court.

Judge Leonard P. Stark is­sued a tem­po­rary in­junc­tion ear­li­er this week, forc­ing My­lan, Dr. Red­dy’s Lab­o­ra­to­ries and Au­robindo Phar­ma to shelve their launch plans to al­low the patent fight to pro­ceed. He ruled that al­low­ing the gener­ics in­to the mar­ket now would per­ma­nent­ly slash the price for No­var­tis, even if it pre­vails. 

Af­ter rais­ing $158M, this up­start's founders have star back­ers and plans to break new ground in gene ther­a­py

Back in 2014, Stephanie Tagliatela opted to take an early exit out of her PhD program after working in Mark Bear’s lab at MIT, where she specialized in the synaptic connections between neuronal cells in the brain. She never finished that PhD, but she and fellow MIT student Kartik Ramamoorthi — who was on the founding team at Voyager — came away with some ideas for a gene therapy startup.

Today, fully 5 years later, she and Ramamoorthi are taking the wraps off of a $104 million mega-round designed to take the cumulative work of their preclinical formative stage for Encoded Therapeutics into human studies. They’ve now raised $158 million since starting out in Illumina’s incubator in the Bay Area, and they believe they are firmly on track to do something unique in gene therapy.

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Novotech CEO Dr. John Moller

Novotech CRO Award­ed Frost & Sul­li­van Best Biotech CRO Asia-Pa­cif­ic 2019

Known in the in­dus­try as the Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO, Novotech is now lead CRO ser­vices provider for the grow­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­al biotechs se­lect­ing the re­gion for their stud­ies.

Re­flect­ing this Asia-Pa­cif­ic growth, Novotech staff num­bers are up 20% since De­cem­ber 2018 to 600 in-house clin­i­cal re­search peo­ple across a full range of ser­vices, across the re­gion.

Novotech’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been rec­og­nized by an­a­lysts like Frost & Sul­li­van, most re­cent­ly with the pres­ti­gious Asia-Pa­cif­ic CRO Biotech of the year award for best prac­tices in clin­i­cal re­search for biotechs for the fifth year. See oth­er awards here.

FDA re­jects Ac­er's rare dis­ease drug, asks for new tri­al — shares crater

Ac­er Ther­a­peu­tics’ bid to re­pur­pose celipro­lol — a be­ta-block­er on the mar­ket for hy­per­ten­sion — as a treat­ment for a rare, in­her­it­ed con­nec­tive tis­sue dis­or­der has hit a se­vere set­back. The New­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts-based com­pa­ny on Tues­day said the FDA re­ject­ed the drug and has asked for an­oth­er clin­i­cal tri­al.

The com­pa­ny’s shares $AC­ER cratered near­ly 77% to $4.47 in Tues­day morn­ing trad­ing.

Richard Gonzalez testifying in front of Senate Finance Committee, February 2019 [AP Images]

Ab­b­Vie's $63B buy­out spot­lights the re­turn of ma­jor M&A deals — de­spite the back­lash

Big time M&A is back. But for how long?

Over the past 18 months we’ve now seen three major buyouts announced: Takeda/Shire; Bristol-Myers/Celgene and now AbbVie/Allergan. And with this latest deal it’s increasingly clear that the sharp fall from grace suffered by high-profile players which have seen their share prices blasted has created an opening for the growth players in big pharma to up their game — in sharp contrast to the popular bolt-on deals that have been driving the growth strategy at Novartis, Merck, Roche and others.

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Top an­a­lyst finds a sil­ver lin­ing in Ab­b­Vie’s $63B Al­ler­gan buy­out — but there’s a catch

Af­ter get­ting beat up on all sides from mar­ket ob­servers who don’t much care for the lat­est mega-deal to ar­rive in bio­phar­ma, at least one promi­nent an­a­lyst now is start­ing to like what he sees in the num­bers for Ab­b­Vie/Al­ler­gan.

But it’s go­ing to take some en­cour­age­ment if Ab­b­Vie ex­ecs want it to last.

Ab­b­Vie’s mar­ket cap de­clined $20 bil­lion on Tues­day as the stock took a 17% hit dur­ing the day. And SVB Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges can see a dis­tinct out­line of an up­side af­ter re­view­ing the fun­da­men­tals of the deal.

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