Peter Mueller, Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX)
2012 pay package: $3.61 million
2011 pay package: $3.93 million
2012 Compensation: $598,980 in salary; $548,863 in stock; $2.04 million in options; $418,296 in incentive pay; $12,450 in other compensation
When Peter Mueller left Boehringer Ingelheim in 2009 to join Vertex, his new company was bleeding red ink as it racked up late-stage data for its hep C treatment telaprevir and accumulated evidence for a cystic fibrosis candidate. Mueller drove both of those drugs--now dubbed Incivek and Kalydeco, respectively--through to FDA approval and watched as they turned the red ink to black. Though Incivek has faltered, thanks to hopes for new, all-oral hep C drug cocktails, Kalydeco is still going strong. Approved to treat cystic fibrosis patients with a specific genetic mutation, Kalydeco bankrolled $171 million last year, and it's expected to top $2.6 billion by 2018.
Intense, voluble and always brimming with new ideas, Mueller has created tremendous confidence in Vertex's development IQ.
Vertex's up-and-coming CF prospects are delivering some strong results as well. The Cambridge, MA-based company recently touted Phase II success combining Kalydeco and VX-661, a CFTR corrector compound. And VX-809, Vertex's first CFTR corrector molecule, won the FDA's new "breakthrough" designation, gaining the inside track toward an approval next year. Meanwhile, Vertex's other hepatitis C candidates hit the skids. Last fall, the company dumped ALS-2158, one of the "nucs" it licensed from Alios BioPharma. By mid-2013, the FDA had put the other--ALS-2200, now known as VX-135--on partial clinical hold after liver toxicity signals cropped up in trial patients. That hold applied to the 400-mg dose; studies of the 200-mg dose are still ongoing.
Vertex shares slide after FDA slaps partial hold on hepatitis C drug
Vertex skyrockets on positive PhII combo study in cystic fibrosis
Vertex plots a race through PhIII for 'breakthrough' combo CF therapy
Vertex dumps one hep C dud, races ahead with second all-oral hope
-- Skye Toor