Woeful Axovant starts axing staff, but departing CEO David Hung gets a $2.6M exit package/bonus
When the high-profile biotech exec David Hung signed on to helm Axovant $AXON back on April 10, the stock was still riding high at $22 a share. On Wednesday, a day after Hung resigned, the stock closed at $1.63 — which some might consider generous given that he and his team had just dropped out following the implosion of the biotech’s lead drug for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
But just because the company failed so woefully — capping the catastrophe with a miscue on a negative data point — doesn’t mean that Hung will leave uncompensated for his work.
In an SEC filing on Wednesday Axovant noted that Hung is picking up $2.26 million in severance. He’s also getting a $330,000 bonus, bringing the total to right at $2.6 million. And he won’t have to worry about paying for healthcare for the next 18 months, 8 months longer than his tenure at the company.
As for the staff, Axovant says it began the process of laying off employees as well as transferring others. The biotech didn’t spell out how many staffers are on their way out, but their group total severance amounts to $1.5 million, significantly less than what Hung is getting solo.
Finally, Hung is staying on in a way, as an adviser to Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences.
Failure doesn’t pay as well as success. The biotech CEO made $354 million from the sale of Medivation, which Pfizer bought for $14 billion. Axovant’s market cap sits at $175 million — down billions from the top.