Pharmasset science founder lands a fortune from $11B Gilead buyout

Emory University researcher and prolific biotech entrepreneur Raymond Schinazi will be $440 million richer once Gilead's ($GILD) $11 billion buyout of Pharmasset ($VRUS) goes through. That four percent slice of the company is now worth more than he was willing to sell the entire company for back in 2004, he tells Reuters.

"They could have had the company for $300 million or less in 2004. Somebody made a huge mistake," Schinazi tells Reuters correspondent Bill Berkrot, who also chronicles the investigator's lucrative career setting up drug developers. The researcher was part of a team that created Emtriva, one of the original HIV blockbusters.

Over the years Schinazi has helped found five biotech companies, including Triangle Pharmaceuticals ($VIRS), sold to Gilead in 2003 for the relatively modest sum of $464 million. He also was a principal founder of Idenix ($IDIX), which is now being touted as one of the next big takeover targets in the hepatitis C field.

Schinazi, of course, isn't the only insider to come away from the rich deal with a fortune, reports The Wall Street Journal. CEO Schaefer Price holds three percent of the company, which is worth $255 million. That's the reward he gets for hanging on to the company's drug assets until they hit their peak. If only he had held on to the 240,000 shares he had sold since June. He could have earned an extra $20 million.

- read the article from Reuters
- here's The Wall Street Journal story