Gilead keeps Martin's pay at $18.8M in last year as CEO

John Martin

Gilead Sciences CEO John Martin isn't strapped for cash. The exec has added about $18 million in annual compensation each year to his coffers, not to mention hundreds of millions in stock gains since he came on board in 2009. This year wasn't any different. Martin took home a hefty pay package as the company's hep C franchise kept delivering the cash--even though it lost some momentum in the U.S. at the same time.

The biotech helmsman got $18.8 million in total compensation, about $200,000 short of what he made in 2014 during Sovaldi and Harvoni's record-setting year. Martin's base salary jumped to $1.7 million last year from $1.6 million in 2014.

Martin also picked up more in option awards and incentive compensation last year. The CEO got $5.7 million in option awards in 2015, up from $5.2 million in 2014. And Martin took home $4 million in non-equity incentive pay, up from $3.1 million in 2014.

But the CEO's stock awards dipped to $7.2 million in 2015 from $8.38 million in 2014. The drop comes as Gilead ($GILD) faces a slowdown for its hep C products in the U.S. Even though the meds continue to deliver internationally, sales dipped a bit stateside last year due to pricing pressures and payer pushback.

Still, no one can say that Gilead is hurting. Under Martin's stewardship, the company brought in $32.6 billion in revenues in 2015 compared with $24.9 billion in 2014. Sales for Sovaldi and Harvoni rang in at $19.1 billion, more than double what they were in 2014.

But as new, cheaper hep C rivals from companies such as Merck ($MRK) hit the market, the company is looking to diversify. Much of that work will fall on John Milligan, who took over for Martin as CEO last month. Milligan took home $8.2 million in pay in 2015.

Gilead needs to explore beyond hep C and HIV, Milligan told analysts on the company's Q4 earnings call. And strong sales for its hep C meds could help Gilead take advantage of new opportunities, including in oncology.

"We're very interested in acquiring assets through partnerships or potentially acquisition that could help us grow … and with the tripling of our revenue over the last few years, the need to do so sooner rather than later is heightened," Milligan said earlier this year. "We have to go outside of antivirals for continued growth."

The company is already getting the ball rolling. Gilead earlier this week said that it would pony up $400 million to buy a Phase I NASH drug from Bill Gates-backed drug discoverer Nimbus Therapeutics. The deal, which also includes another $800 million in milestones, gives Gilead access to Nimbus' early-stage treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and other diseases.

- read Gilead's proxy statement

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