The $913M bo­nan­za: Arie Bellde­grun and his top team at Kite show you how to make a re­al­ly rich deal

When David Hung fin­ished his deal to sell Medi­va­tion to Pfiz­er for $14 bil­lion, he reaped a $355 mil­lion wind­fall as his re­ward as the mas­ter deal­mak­er in the in­dus­try. But if you think that’s a lot, you don’t know Arie Bellde­grun.

Ear­li­er this week, Kite Phar­ma laid out the re­wards that fall to their ex­ec­u­tive team in light of the land­mark $12 bil­lion deal that they did with Gilead. And Bellde­grun and his key team just il­lus­trat­ed how rich­ly biotech can be re­ward­ed when you make an his­toric ad­vance in the clin­ic.

Arie Bellde­grun

Add up Bellde­grun’s pay­offs for the shares he owned, plus a re­ward on vest­ed and un­vest­ed shares and a moth­er lode in gold­en para­chute re­wards, and the to­tal re­vealed in the SEC fil­ing hits $694,266,006, with tax re­im­burse­ments on top.

Bro­ken down, that looks like this:

$579,208,680 shares

$17,370,398 vest­ed shares

$33,272,896 un­vest­ed shares

$64,414,032 gold­en para­chute

To­tal: $694,266,006.

Cyn­thia Butti­ta

But Bellde­grun didn’t just make him­self phe­nom­e­nal­ly wealthy from the deal. His ex­ec­u­tive team, led by COO Cyn­thia Butti­ta and R&D chief David Chang, are al­so in­de­pen­dent­ly wealthy now.

David Chang

Butti­ta, who held on to $14.2 mil­lion in stock at the time of the buy­out, is gath­er­ing a to­tal of $121 mil­lion — in­clud­ing vest­ed and un­vest­ed stock, plus a $39 mil­lion gold­en para­chute pack­age.

Chang had less stock, but he still gets a pack­age worth $98 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a $37 mil­lion gold­en para­chute wind­fall.

Al­to­geth­er for those three: $913 mil­lion.

Biotech, of course, is one of the riski­est busi­ness­es in the world, as the ex­ec­u­tives at Juno would sure­ly tell you. In­stead of com­ing out in the front of the CAR-T com­pe­ti­tion, they’re now play­ing catch-up. Hung him­self just watched an op­tion on a new per­son­al for­tune as well as $2 bil­lion in mar­ket cap just go up in smoke with the crush­ing fail­ure of Ax­o­vant’s lead Alzheimer’s drug, so there are plen­ty of loss­es to con­sid­er when cal­cu­lat­ing the win­nings for any deal. But few can ig­nore the les­son that win­ning big in biotech can be worth a moth­er lode of cash — which is one rea­son why bil­lions of dol­lars flow in­to drug de­vel­op­ment.

It’s al­so been sug­gest­ed to me that com­ing out in the front of these R&D races isn’t all that im­por­tant.

But that may de­pend on how you keep score.

#ES­MO20: Trodelvy da­ta shows big Gilead buy­out may have been worth the pre­mi­um

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has been on a shopping spree. And while some analysts gawked at the biotech’s recent $21 billion Immunomedics buyout, new data released at virtual ESMO 2020 suggest the acquisition may have been worth the hefty price.

The deal, announced last weekend, gives California-based Gilead $GILD Trodelvy, which was recently approved for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC).

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#ES­MO20: As­traZeneca bur­nish­es Tagris­so's ad­ju­vant NSCLC pro­file with 'un­prece­dent­ed' re­duc­tion in brain mets. Can they win over skep­tics?

When AstraZeneca trumpeted “momentous” and “transformative” results for Tagrisso earlier this year at ASCO, some practitioners threw cold water on the ADAURA fervor. Sure, the disease-free survival data look good, but overall survival is the endpoint that matters when it comes to choosing adjuvant therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients, the experts said.

The OS data still aren’t here, but AstraZeneca is back at ESMO to bolster their case with a look at brain metastasis data.

Dan Skovronsky, Eli Lilly CSO

UP­DAT­ED: An­a­lysts are quick to pan Eli Lil­ly's puz­zling first cut of pos­i­tive clin­i­cal da­ta for its Covid-19 an­ti­body

Eli Lilly spotlighted a success for one of 3 doses of their closely-watched Covid-19 antibody drug Wednesday morning. But analysts quickly highlighted some obvious anomalies that could come back to haunt the pharma giant as it looks for an emergency use authorization to launch marketing efforts.

The pharma giant reported that LY-CoV555, developed in collaboration with AbCellera, significantly reduced the rate of hospitalization among patients who were treated with the antibody. The drug arm of the study had a 1.7% hospitalization rate, compared to 6% in the control group, marking a 72% drop in risk.

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Exelixis CEO Michael Morrissey (file photo)

#ES­MO20: Look out Mer­ck. Bris­tol My­ers and Ex­elix­is stake out their com­bo’s claim to best-in-class sta­tus for front­line kid­ney can­cer

Now that the PD-(L)1 checkpoints are deeply entrenched in the oncology market, it’s time to welcome a wave of combination therapies — beyond chemo — looking to extend their benefit to larger numbers of patients. Bristol Myers Squibb ($BMY} and Exelixis {EXEL} are close to the front of that line.

Today at ESMO the collaborators pulled the curtain back on some stellar data for their combination of Opdivo (the PD-1) and Cabometyx (the TKI), marking a significant advance for the blockbuster Bristol Myers franchise while offering a big leg up for the team at Exelixis.

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Donald Trump and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, before boarding Marine One (Getty Images)

Pric­ing deal col­laps­es over Big Phar­ma's re­fusal to is­sue $100 'cash card­s' be­fore the elec­tion — re­port

Late in August, as negotiations on a pricing deal with President Trump reached a boiling point, PhRMA president Stephen Ubl sent an email update to the 34 biopharma chiefs that sit on his board. He wrote that if the industry did not agree to pay for a $100 “cash card” sent to seniors before November, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was going to tell the news media Big Pharma was refusing to “share the savings” with the elderly — and that all of the blame for failed drug pricing negotiations would lie squarely on the industry.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: A mi­cro-cap with a po­ten­tial­ly promis­ing coro­n­avirus drug en­lists mask-skep­tic con­gress­man for DSMB

A small biotech that has talked up a potentially promising but unproven treatment for Covid-19 enlisted an unusual member for its study’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board: a sitting Republican congressman with close ties to the CEO and a history of mask skepticism.

NeuroRx, an Israeli biotech testing a lung inflammation drug in Covid-19 patients, tapped Maryland Rep. Andy Harris for the DSMB, Politico reported. Harris is an anesthesiologist but not a biostatistician, and he has questioned the CDC about a “cult of masks” in the US. Harris has known NeuroRx CEO Jonathan Javitt since the two worked at Johns Hopkins together over 20 years ago.

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#ES­MO20: Alk­er­mes of­fers their first snap­shot of a ben­e­fit for their next-gen IL-2 drug. But why did 1 pa­tient starve to death?

Everyone in the cancer R&D arena is looking to build new franchises around better drugs and combos. And one busy pocket of that space is centered entirely on creating an IL-2 drug that can be as effective as the original without the toxicity that damned it to the sidelines.

Alkermes $ALKS formally tossed its hat into the ring of contenders at virtual ESMO today, highlighting the first glimpse of efficacy for their candidate, ALKS 4230, as both a monotherapy as well as in combination with Merck’s Keytruda.

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Pfiz­er match­es Mod­er­na with their full Covid-19 tri­al blue­print — As­traZeneca says it will un­veil its pro­to­col 'short­ly'

Yesterday, after sustained public pressure as Moderna released its Phase III Covid-19 trial blueprint, Pfizer released its own full trial design for their vaccine trials. The move was designed to boost transparency and shore up public trust in the vaccines, but it also revealed differences in how the two companies are approaching the much-watched studies while failing to satisfy the demands of the fiercest advocates for transparency.

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Stronger to­geth­er? Boehringer and Mi­rati team to put first KRAS-KRAS com­bo in the clin­ic

Researchers are still waiting to see how much any of the vaunted KRAS drugs now in the clinic can, after decades of preclinical research and some early human studies, help patients. But while they do, two of the leading developers will look to see whether a KRAS-KRAS combo might pose a better shot than any KRAS alone.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Mirati have signed a collaboration to combine Mirati’s closely-watched lead KRAS inhibitor, MRTX849, in a clinical trial with the pan-KRAS blocker that Boehringer has quietly developed with high expectations behind their flashier contenders.

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