15. Robert Bradway

Amgen CEO Robert Bradway racked up $16.85 million in compensation for 2016.

Robert Bradway
CEO, Amgen
2016 compensation: $16.85 million

It was a solid year for big biotech Amgen, which won some significant court, and market, battles with its PCSK9 cholesterol drug Repatha. The drug, and other recently launched meds, helped boost revenues by 6% to $23 billion, while net income was up by double digits, something that was not easy for many drugmakers to do last year.

Also showing growth was CEO Robert Bradway’s total compensation package, which was up about $750,000, a 4.7% boost, to a total of $16.85 million, according to Amgen’s recently filed proxy statement.

While his base pay did not change much at $1.5 million, up about $25,000, there was a stock option award worth about $3.3 million. That was enough to offset a $2.5 million reduction in restricted stock handed out last year, shares that still amounted to about $7.7 million and accounted for most of the boost.

In explaining exec comp for the year, the board made clear that Bradway and his colleagues did a good job of hitting the goals set out for them. In addition to seeing revenue growth, the proxy points out that Amgen continues to make good on its expense shrinking, a move started in 2014 that resulted in big job cuts. It says it has saved $1.5 billion in annual costs since then.

The company also pointed to strides the executive team has made with Repatha, although some of the progress has come as a result of legal, rather than marketing, battles won.

In fact, it was a particularly adventurous year for Repatha, after a judge ruled last year that Sanofi and Regeneron's competing PCSK9 drug Praluent violated Amgen's patents in the field. That conflict got even more exciting in January, when those two were ordered to halt sales of Praluent. They won a stay on appeal, but the wins have left Repatha in the catbird seat in an area that has huge upside potential.

15. Robert Bradway