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

2023 Spot­light on the Fu­ture of Drug De­vel­op­ment for Small and Mid-Sized Biotechs

In the context of today’s global economic environment, there is an increasing need to work smarter, faster and leaner across all facets of the life sciences industry.  This is particularly true for small and mid-sized biotech companies, many of which are facing declining valuations and competing for increasingly limited funding to propel their science forward.  It is important to recognize that within this framework, many of these smaller companies already find themselves resource-challenged to design and manage clinical studies themselves because they don’t have large teams or in-house experts in navigating the various aspects of the drug development journey. This can be particularly challenging for the most complex and difficult to treat diseases where no previous pathway exists and patients are urgently awaiting breakthroughs.

Dipal Doshi, Entrada Therapeutics CEO

Ver­tex just found the next big ‘trans­for­ma­tive’ thing for the pipeline — at a biotech just down the street

Back in the summer of 2019, when I was covering Vertex’s executive chairman Jeff Leiden’s plans for the pipeline, I picked up on a distinct focus on myotonic dystrophy Type I, or DM1 — one of what Leiden called “two diseases (with DMD) we’re interested in and we continue to look for those assets.”

Today, Leiden’s successor at the helm of Vertex, CEO Reshma Kewalramani, is plunking down $250 million in cash to go the extra mile on DM1. The lion’s share of that is for the upfront, with a small reserve for equity in a deal that lines Vertex up with a neighbor in Seaport that has been rather quietly going at both of Vertex’s early disease targets with preclinical assets.

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WIB22: Am­ber Salz­man had few op­tions when her son was di­ag­nosed with a rare ge­net­ic dis­ease. So she cre­at­ed a bet­ter one

This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

Amber Salzman’s life changed on a cold, damp day in Paris over tiny plastic cups of lukewarm tea.

She was meeting with Patrick Aubourg, a French neurologist studying adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, a rare genetic condition that causes rapid neurological decline in young boys. It’s a sinister disease that often leads to disability or death within just a few years. Salzman’s nephew was diagnosed at just 6 or 7 years old, and died at the age of 12.

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WIB22: Lead­ing NK cell re­searcher re­flects on roots in Iran, the UK and Texas

This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

In a small but widely-cited 11-person study published in NEJM in 2020, seven patients saw signs of their cancer completely go away after getting a new therapy made from natural killer cells. The study was one of the earliest to provide clinical proof that the experimental treatment method had promise.

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WIB22: Chas­ing af­ter ever-evolv­ing sci­ence takes a drug hunter across the pond

This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

Like many scientists, Fiona Marshall would tell you that she loved the natural world growing up — going to look at crabs running around the beach near her childhood home, pondering about the tides. But one thing about biology, in particular, stood out: It was constantly changing, and changing very quickly.

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Ahead of ad­comm, FDA rais­es un­cer­tain­ties on ben­e­fit-risk pro­file of Cy­to­ki­net­ic­s' po­ten­tial heart drug

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss whether Cytokinetics’ potential heart drug can safely reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and heart failure in patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

The drug, known as omecamtiv mecarbil and in development for more than 15 years, has seen mixed results, with a first Phase III readout from November 2020 hitting the primary endpoint of reducing the odds of hospitalization or other urgent care for heart failure by 8%. But it also missed a key secondary endpoint analysts had pegged as key to breaking into the market.

Ab­b­Vie slapped with age dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit, fol­low­ing oth­er phar­mas

Add AbbVie to the list of pharma companies currently facing age discrimination allegations.

Pennsylvania resident Thomas Hesch filed suit against AbbVie on Wednesday, accusing the company of passing him over for promotions in favor of younger candidates.

Despite 30 years of pharma experience, “Hesch has consistently seen younger, less qualified employees promoted over him,” the complaint states.

Rami Elghandour, Arcellx CEO

Up­dat­ed: Gilead, Ar­cel­lx team up on an­ti-BC­MA CAR-T as biotech touts a 100% re­sponse rate at #ASH22

Gilead and Kite are plunking down big cash to get into the anti-BCMA CAR-T game.

The pair will shell out $225 million in cash upfront and $100 million in equity to Arcellx, Kite announced Friday morning, to develop the biotech’s lead CAR-T program together. Kite will handle commercialization and co-development with Arcellx, and profits in the US will be split 50-50.

Concurrent with the deal, Arcellx revealed its latest cut of data for the program known as CART-ddBCMA, ahead of a full presentation at this weekend’s ASH conference — a 100% response rate among patients getting the therapy. Investors jumped at the dual announcements, sending Arcellx shares $ACLX up more than 25% in Friday’s morning session.

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WIB22: Suma Kr­ish­nan co-found­ed a com­pa­ny to de­vel­op a treat­ment for ‘the worst dis­ease you’ve nev­er heard of’

This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

After spending time with patients who were diagnosed with what some call “the worst disease you’ve never heard of,” Suma Krishnan dedicated herself to finding a treatment.

Krishnan, who is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Krystal Biotech, spearheaded a gene therapy gel that showed promise in a late-stage clinical trial for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. The FDA is reviewing whether to approve the therapy and will decide by February.

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