It's a great time to helm a large biotech company, generally. Big biotech players overall posted major growth last year, and their CEOs got richer in the process. Most got fat raises while others saw their bundles of pay pale in comparison to 2011 figures.
We surveyed the total compensation packages of the 10 largest biotech companies based on market capitalization as of early May, sleuthing mostly proxy statements for the financial details on pay for some of the most powerful people in the industry.
Last year the chief executives of the 10 companies garnered total compensation of $115.93 million, a 16.57% jump from the $99.45 million in total pay the execs got in 2011.
The R&D numbers for the top 10 biotechs may only amount to a fraction of what you'll find in Big Pharma. But unlike the giants, which are trying to keep a lid on multibillion-dollar budgets, you'll find a much faster crowd when you turn your gaze to the biotechs. All 10 reported increases in their research spending for last year. And a few of them slammed their foot on the gas pedal.
Altogether the top 10 biotechs spent $11.8 billion on R&D in 2012, according to our research, a hefty 15% average increase over their 2011 performance. Compare that to the stable year-over-year record in Big Pharma, where doing more with the same amount of cash has become an industry mantra.
Two years after leaving the biotech giant Genzyme, Henri Termeer has found increased demand for his expertise and personal resources from a growing crowd of startups in the Boston area and The Netherlands. Termeer, the former chairman and CEO of Genzyme, left the biotech two months after Sanofi acquired it for more than $20 billion in April 2011 to seize control of its lucrative drugs for rare diseases. He was expected to stay involved in biotech, having engineered the growth of Genzyme from a small venture in the early 1980s to a multibillion-dollar force in the industry. Yet not even he could have predicted all the new companies and entrepreneurs he would add to his professional circle.
At the risk of looking a gift horse in the mouth, or more precisely two gift horses, I would like to reconsider the BRAIN initiative that President Obama announced as part of the budget package he sent to Congress on April 2.
I am all for initiative. I am no fan of big government, but government-sponsored large-scale basic research works. In fact it is essential if we are to provide healthcare to a country with an aging population, a shrinking workforce and a growing burden of chronic disease. The task is daunting at best and, without new insights and therapeutic tools, virtually impossible.
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