No Longer at Equity

Image: Marlene J. Viola Look for big changes in the stock options that lure many scientists out of academia and into the biotechnology industry, life sciences compensation analysts say. The stock market decline has stripped options of their value, just as regulators have begun to eye them suspiciously. Seemingly obscure accounting issues are critical to scientists in biotech firms, who may have gambled half their pay package on options or on rights to buy shares in a company at a set price. "

Peg Brickley
Sep 15, 2002
Image: Marlene J. Viola

Look for big changes in the stock options that lure many scientists out of academia and into the biotechnology industry, life sciences compensation analysts say. The stock market decline has stripped options of their value, just as regulators have begun to eye them suspiciously. Seemingly obscure accounting issues are critical to scientists in biotech firms, who may have gambled half their pay package on options or on rights to buy shares in a company at a set price.

"Gone are the days when people thought they would become millionaires or multimillionaires," says Jack Dolmat-Connell, who counsels companies on compensation in life sciences for Clarke/Bardes Consulting in Boston. Scientists at many biotechnology firms are learning the hard way that options are a gamble, as is the business of creating new technologies. "Options sometimes work, but not always," says Bob Gore, a principal with Towers Perrin's...

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