Christopher A. Viehbacher and Michel Vounatsos, the two men who held the CEO position at Biogen last year, made more than $57 million in total compensation, according to a recent financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company paid Viehbacher, who was hired in November, $30.5 million in total compensation. Meanwhile, Vounatsos, who left the company after more than five years at the helm, brought home $26.6 million.
The final compensation number for Vounatsos marked a significant increase over his 2021 and 2020 compensation due in part to the severance package offered by the company.
Biogen stated that the estimated ratio of annual total compensation for the CEO position compared to the median annual total compensation for an employee was 182 to 1.
Viehbacher was appointed after Biogen endured a few difficult years, most notably marked by the turbulent saga of its ill-fated Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhlem. The company announced almost one year ago that it would undergo a search to replace Vounatsos, ultimately landing on the former Sanofi chief to take his place.
In his short time at the company, Viehbacher has led Biogen through the accelerated approval process for Leqembi, its latest Alzheimer’s treatment developed in partnership with Eisai. The drug has already achieved its first sale, prescription written and patient infusion, with eyes on a full approval from the Food and Drug Administration in early July.
Biogen also submitted its financial compensation filing one week after the FDA approved Qalsody (tofersen), an investigational drug developed in conjunction with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, to treat a rare genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
That announcement came hours after Biogen released its latest earnings report, highlighted by declines in adjusted earnings per share and total revenue. Still, the company beat Wall Street profit estimates thanks to strong sales of Spinraza.
In a statement accompanying the earnings report, Viehbacher said the progress made with Leqembi and Qalsody is an indication that the company is “at the forefront of groundbreaking science.”
Biogen is the latest Big Pharma company to unveil how much their chief executives brought home last year, joining the likes of AbbVie, Moderna, GSK and Amgen, among others.