The average annual base salary paid to executives at United States biotechnology companies--both privately and publicly owned--rose between 4.7 percent and 7.4 percent between 1991 and 1992, according to a recently released survey by executive search firm J. Robert Scott and accounting and consulting firm Coopers & Lybrand's National High Tech Group, both of Boston.

Top biotechnology officials say the findings portend the future health and expansion of the industry, which, they say, should mean continued demand for research scientists at these companies.

"The ante is increasing.... Salaries and bonuses have swung into gear,<170> says Glenn Cooper, chief executive and president of Interneuron Pharmaceuticals in Lexington, Mass. Biotech companies' top executives, Cooper says, wouldn't be so highly compensated "if there wasn't a belief that biotech was going to be a driving force in providing new drugs."

For its survey, J. Robert Scott received responses from more than 400 executives in...

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