Even as the biotech industry fights for profitability, top biotech execs are taking home supersized paychecks—loaded up with above-average salary increases, fat bonuses, and extremely generous stock option grants, according to three recent surveys.

But as the industry transforms itself from one focused on scientific research to one more concerned with manufacturing and sales, executive pay packages are changing. Meanwhile, shareholder backlash and accounting rule changes are getting more biotechs to reconsider the use of excessive stock options.

Many chief executive officers (CEOs)—of both profitable and not-yet-profitable companies—have multimillion-dollar pay packages, the surveys found. The average total annual salary and bonus paid to biotech CEOs in 2003 was $567,000, up from $538,000 in 2002, according to a survey conducted by BioWorld magazine. Of course, many execs at the best-known companies are making far more: The survey identified a 15-member "Multimillionaire's Club," made up of those biotech execs whose total compensation—salary,...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?