1. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna Therapeutics

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel earned more than any other biopharma CEO last year. (Wikimedia Commons)

1. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna Therapeutics
2018 pay: $58.60 million 
2017 pay: $6.80 million 
Change: +761% 

While Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel’s 2017 pay wouldn’t have placed him anywhere near the top of the industry’s best-paid CEOs, the company was riding high in 2018, thanks to a record-breaking IPO.  

And Bancel's pay showed it. After the company's first-ever public offering delivered $604 million in December, the mRNA-focused biotech handed Bancel equity awards and incentive pay that brought his total package to $58.6 million.

Almost all of Bancel’s 2018 pay came from option awards that vest in tranches over the next five years. Bancel nabbed more than 900,000 shares last February and another 4.59 million shares in December, a securities filing shows. 

That $58.6 million total far surpassed those of all other CEOs of leading drugmakers large and small. In fact, Bancel’s 2018 pay package was nearly twice the compensation recorded by the next-highest-paid helmsman, Teva’s Kare Schultz. For his work in turning around that drugmaker—and a signing bonus agreed upon when he joined the company—Schultz pulled in $33 million.  

Bancel's first grant, at $14.22 per share, started vesting in February 2019. The second, granted at the IPO price of $23 per share, starts vesting next year. 

Moderna's IPO capped off a bumper year for biotechs going public. Another CEO who ranks among biopharma's highest paid, according to FiercePharma research, counts a 2018 stock offering among his accomplishments: China-based BeiGene reeled in $903 million in a Hong Kong secondary listing, and its top executive, John Oyler, snared a $15 million bonus for his efforts. 

RELATED: BeiGene CEO Oyler nabs a $15M thank-you bonus, pushing 2018 pay to $27.9M  

Aside from stock options, Bancel's salary jumped 32% last year to around $863,000, and his cash incentive pay leapt 20% to $1.8 million. In all, Bancel's 2018 pay ballooned more than eight times from his 2017 pay package of $6.8 million  

Bancel has served as CEO at Moderna since 2011; the biotech started operations in 2010. The company is advancing drugs and vaccines based on messenger RNA and has inked partnerships with AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. on certain candidates. 

1. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna Therapeutics

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