Sarepta CEO Douglas Ingram only came on board late last June, but during six months at the position, he earned a payout that could end up leading the industry for the entire year.
Ingram, a former Allergan executive, totted up nearly $57 million in 2017 compensation, according to Sarepta's proxy filing. How'd he get there? Salary payments of $337,500, plus $11.6 million in stock awards, $44.84 million in option awards and $420,875 in non-equity incentive plan compensation. His "other" compensation was $16,000.
But the option award sets out "very challenging" performance targets Sarepta's growth, and the full amount won't vest unless Ingram meets the targets. For the award to fully vest, the stock would need to go from $34.65 to about $186.5 over 5 years—a 438% increase—and exceed the Nasdaq biotech index's annual growth rate by at least 5%.
"These high thresholds are designed to incentivize our new Chief Executive Officer to focus on the Company’s growth and how it can outperform its peers over a 5-year period," the filing says.
If Ingram meets the goals, the figures represent one of biopharma's biggest pay packages for the year, ahead of those for CEOs running the world's largest pharma companies. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, for instance, netted $29 million in total pay last year. Allergan's Brent Saunders received $32.8 million in total pay, while Pfizer CEO Ian Read's package was worth $27.9 million.
Ingram took the reins from former Sarepta CEO Ed Kaye back in June. In his time at the company, Sarepta's share prices have grown 165% to about $90. He's overseeing the launch of the company's first med—Exondys 51 to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy—and expanding the biotech's pipeline, even after his appointment indicated to some market watchers that Sarepta might be up for sale.
That speculation came because Ingram previously served as Allergan's president until the Actavis megamerger. He later led Chase Pharmaceuticals, which ended up selling to Allergan.
But so far, Ingram's focus has been on the pipeline, he told FierceBiotech at this year's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Just days ago, the biotech entered a gene therapy collaboration with Myonexus Therapeutics in limb-girdle muscular dystrophies.
Sarepta generated heaps of attention back in 2016 with the controversial FDA review and approval of Exondys. Agency reviewers and independent experts voiced plenty of doubts about the drug, but patient advocates showed up by the hundreds to plead with the agency to give them a treatment for a life-threatening disease that had no treatment options.
In the end, and after an internal agency debate, Exondys won approval. The drug generated $154 million last year.
Editor's note: This story was updated to add details about the "option award" portion of Ingram's pay.