Who’s the top earn­ing CEO in bio­phar­ma? Mar­tine Roth­blatt once again hits top slot with $37M pay pack­age

For­get Al­ler­gan CEO Brent Saun­ders’ hefty $33 mil­lion pay pack­age for 2017. Ian Read, you and your $28 mil­lion Pfiz­er deal, com­plete with $1 mil­lion re­ten­tion bonus, is just an al­so-ran for last year’s top pay pack­age. Re­gen­eron likes to pay top wages to co-founders Len Schleifer and George Yan­copou­los — but they’re not close to the top spot. And J&J’s Alex Gorsky once again scored high, at $29 mil­lion, but isn’t the high­est.

That prize ev­i­dent­ly goes to Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics CEO Mar­tine Roth­blatt, who once again out­stripped them all. Unit­ed’s proxy shows that Roth­blatt, with rev­enue that ac­counts for on­ly a tiny slice of what the ma­jors get, earned a com­pen­sa­tion pack­age worth $37.1 mil­lion. Most of that, of course, is for her stock op­tions. And the full pack­age runs over twice the $15 mil­lion deal she got in 2016.

Roth­blatt is no stranger to big pay. She was the top earn­ing fe­male CEO in 2013, with $38 mil­lion to bank on.

“I think this [pay struc­ture] is in the best in­ter­est of the share­hold­ers,” she told a re­porter at the time. “There’s a mantra about cor­po­rate gov­er­nance about pay-for-per­for­mance so I said ‘okay I’ll take the risk that 100% of my bonus com­pen­sa­tion will be based up­on stock mar­ket per­for­mance.’”

But stock price wasn’t the key in the cur­rent proxy. In 2017 the stock start­ed the year at $163.63 and fin­ished at $129. 

The mon­ey this year puts Roth­blatt — who un­der­went sex re­as­sign­ment surgery more than 20 years ago — well be­yond a well-paid ex­ec­u­tive team, with gen­er­al coun­sel Paul Ma­hon tak­ing $12.9 mil­lion and COO Michael Benkowitz earn­ing com­pen­sa­tion tal­ly­ing $11.5 mil­lion.

Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics filed its proxy on Fri­day, three days be­fore to­day’s an­nounce­ment that Unit­ed had ac­quired ri­val SteadyMed, elim­i­nat­ing a key patent threat in the process.


Im­age: Mar­tine Roth­blatt. AP IM­AGES

Secretary of health and human services Alex Azar speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House (Photo: AFP)

Trump’s HHS claims ab­solute au­thor­i­ty over the FDA, clear­ing path to a vac­cine EUA

The top career staff at the FDA has vowed not to let politics overrule science when looking at vaccine data this fall. But Alex Azar, who happens to be their boss’s boss, apparently won’t even give them a chance to stand in the way.

In a new memorandum issued Tuesday last week, the HHS chief stripped the FDA and other health agencies under his purview of their rule making ability, asserting all such power “is reserved to the Secretary.” Sheila Kaplan of the New York Times first obtained and reported the details of the September 15 bulletin.

Anthony Coyle (Repertoire)

Flag­ship's merged biotech Reper­toire nets ex-Pfiz­er CSO An­tho­ny Coyle as R&D chief

Flagship is building a big-name C-suite at its new, $220 million merged biotech.

Repertoire Immune Medicines, which already boasts former Bioverativ chief John Cox as its CEO, announced yesterday that Anthony Coyle, the former Pfizer CSO and the founding CEO of Pandion, will join as their head of R&D.

“As we progress clinical trials for our multi-clonal T cell candidates in immuno-oncology, Tony’s deep expertise in cellular immunology and novel therapeutic development will help us achieve our vision of creating a new class of transformative medicines for patients,” Cox said in a statement.

Samit Hirawat (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Af­ter bruis­ing re­jec­tion, blue­bird and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb land ide-cel pri­or­i­ty re­view. But will it mat­ter for the CVR?

With the clock all but up, the FDA accepted and handed priority review to Bristol Myers Squibb and bluebird bio’s BCMA CAR-T, keeping a narrow window open for Celgene investors to still cash in on the $9 CVR from the $63 billion Celgene merger.

The acceptance comes five months after the two companies weres slammed with a surprise refuse-to-file that threatened to foreclose the CVR entirely. Today’s acceptance sets the FDA decision date for March 27, 2021 – or precisely 4 days before the CVR deadline of March 31. Given the breakthrough designation and strong pivotal data — 81.5% response rate, 35.2% complete response rate — priority review was largely expected.

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President Donald Trump (via AP Images)

Signs of an 'Oc­to­ber Vac­cine Sur­prise' alarm ca­reer sci­en­tists. HHS con­tin­ues to claim Azar “will de­fer com­plete­ly to the FDA"

President Donald Trump, who seems intent on announcing a Covid-19 vaccine before Election Day, could legally authorize a vaccine over the objections of experts, officials at the FDA and even vaccine manufacturers, who have pledged not to release any vaccine unless it’s proved safe and effective.

In podcasts, public forums, social media and medical journals, a growing number of prominent health leaders say they fear that Trump — who has repeatedly signaled his desire for the swift approval of a vaccine and his displeasure with perceived delays at the FDA — will take matters into his own hands, running roughshod over the usual regulatory process.

Can a mag­net­ic cell ther­a­py re­place corneal trans­plan­ta­tion? As eight-year jour­ney leads to the clin­ic, two broth­ers un­veil bold vi­sion

Jeff Goldberg was getting acquainted with a brand new way to do corneal transplants when an even newer, even bolder idea hit him.

It was almost 10 years ago, and Goldberg was in his first faculty position at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami. Scientists had developed a new way to do cornea transplants where instead of sewing a whole donor cornea — a decades-old practice — they were just engrafting the inner layer of cells.

News brief­ing: Tiny Vac­cinex's drug flops in PhII Hunt­ing­ton's tri­al, stock craters; Siol­ta nabs $30M Se­ries B to de­vel­op mi­cro­bio­me drug

Siolta Therapeutics, a microbiome company targeting allergic diseases, raked in a $30 million Series B to develop its lead candidate, STMC-103H. The drug, which has been FDA fast-tracked, is headed for proof-of-concept trials, according to the company. Its various indications include allergic asthma, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and allergy prevention.

The news comes just after the California-based biotech added a prominent biopharma veteran as an advisor: 20-year Gilead CEO John Martin. The biotech also gained Richard Shames as CMO, who came by way of Protagonist Therapeutics.

Embattled CDC director Robert Redfield (AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: CDC ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee de­lays pri­or­i­ty dis­tri­b­u­tion vote; EU re­port­ed­ly in­dem­ni­fy­ing vac­cine mak­ers

A federal committee that advises the CDC was expected to hold a vote Tuesday on a plan regarding the distribution for initial doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. But that vote has been scrapped.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, won’t be voting until the committee members learn more about which vaccines become available first, the Wall Street Journal reported. The vote could potentially wait until a specific vaccine is authorized before recommending how to dole out the first doses.

Zai Lab hauls in $761M from Hong Kong IPO to push Ze­ju­la, more bud­ding can­di­dates in Chi­na — re­port

Zai Lab is set to net more than $761 million from its secondary listing in Hong Kong after pricing the IPO at $72.51 (HKD$562) — just a hair below its Nasdaq closing price on Monday, Bloomberg and Nikkei Asian Review reported.

A pioneer in bringing Western drugs to China, co-founder and CEO Samantha Du has more than tripled Zai Lab’s market cap in the three years it’s been public in the US. The HKEX listing is designed to fund R&D and commercialization for the current portfolio while fueling new in-licensing pacts, the biotech wrote in a filing.

Tae Han Kim, Samsung Biologics CEO (SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics nets $330M+ deal from As­traZeneca ahead of 'Su­per Plan­t' con­struc­tion

Just a few weeks after announcing plans to construct a $2 billion “Super Plant,” Samsung Biologics is keeping its foot on the gas.

The Korean CDMO has inked a $330.8 million manufacturing contract with AstraZeneca, the companies announced Monday evening, providing the British drugmaker the ability to expand production capabilities in the Asia market. Per terms of the deal, the partnership could be increased to $545.6 million.