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 $99.45 million in total pay the execs got in 2011. The majority of compensation across the board came from nonsalary pay in the form of stock and option awards and bonuses, all of which are the main parts of the pay-for-performance Kool-Aid that these companies guzzle.
Several chiefs led companies whose stock values soared based on the promise or sales performance of new therapies for macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis or hepatitis C virus. Indeed, Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) George Scangos, Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) John Martin and Regeneron's ($REGN) Len Schleifer were given tens of millions of reasons to stay at the helm of their respective companies.
Regeneron's board made Schliefer the most highly paid biopharma CEO in the world, rewarding him for successes such as the stellar year for its new macular degeneration drug Eylea and promising pipeline featuring a PCSK9 contender. Last year Schliefer made more money than his counterparts in Big Pharma, which has lost patent exclusivity on key products such as Lipitor and Seroquel as biotech companies launch new blockbusters such as Biogen's MS pill Tecfidera and Eylea.
Readers might wonder why companies such as Shire ($SHPG) and Allergan ($AGN) were not on our list. Well, you can find them on FiercePharma's longer list of top CEO pay packages. We tried to cull specialty pharma companies from the mix and focus exclusively on the Big Biotech set. Please tweet your thoughts on whether the chief executives deserved their millions to @RyanMFierce with the hashtag #FBexecpay or email us.
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