BioMarin's CEO Bienaime, in his 16th year at the helm, scores $18M pay package

BioMarin had a setback last year with an FDA thumbs down for a promising hemophilia drug, but the company's positive momentum remained intact under longtime CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime, who made $18.1 million last year. (BioMarin)

How's this for a resume nugget?

In each of Jean-Jacques Bienaime's 16 years as CEO at BioMarin, the California biotech has reported a revenue increase as it has worked to advance therapies against rare genetic diseases.

As a result, Bienaime has been amply compensated. Still, the company faced a big setback last year with the FDA's rejection for a gene therapy candidate for hemophilia. 

Last year, Bienaime collected $18.12 million in total pay, with $15.06 million coming by way of equity awards on top of his $1.30 million salary, the biotech said in a proxy statement. He also pulled down $1.66 million in incentive performance cash.

Bienaime’s package didn’t quite measure up to the $18.41 million he received in 2019. The difference can be attributed to his incentive performance cash pay, which totaled $2.32 million during the prior year.  

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BioMarin’s other executives fared well in 2020, led by R&D chief Henry Fuchs, M.D., who collected $7.46 million in total pay. CFO Brian Mueller pulled down $5.84 million, while CCO Jeff Ajer netted $4.54 million in compensation.  

While BioMarin continued its progress on its rare-disease strategy last year, the company hit a setback in August when the FDA rejected its promising candidate valrox. Before the rejection, the drug appeared ready to become the first gene therapy for hemophilia.

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While BioMarin goes back to work on valrox, it’s bottom-line success is ensured by drugs such as Vimizim for metabolic disorders and two treatments for phenylalanine, a rare condition that causes the build-up of amino acids. The drugs are Kuvan and the fast-rising Palyniq. Kuvan sales are on the slide now thanks to generic competition in the U.S.