How Much Cash Kite Pharma's Execs Made From Its $12 Billion Gilead Deal

Published: Oct 05, 2017

How Much Cash Kite Pharma's Execs Made From Its $12 Billion Gilead Deal September 29, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

SANTA MONICA – When Gilead Sciences plunked down nearly $12 billion to acquire Kite Pharma , it wasn’t just investors in Kite who made out well from the deal. Company executives, particularly Kite Chief Executive Officer Arie Belldegrun, also scored a nice financial windfall.

An Endpoints News analysis of filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Kite executives earned a total of $913 million off the blockbuster deal. Belldegrun won the lion’s share in rewards from the deal, bagging a total of $694,266,006 from Gilead’s acquisition. In a breakdown of the earnings, Belldegrun will score $579,208,680 from stock shares. Additionally, he will pick up $17,370.398 in vested shares and $33,272,896 in unvested shares. Lastly, Belldegrun will earn $64,414,032 in a golden parachute, Endpoints reported.

But it wasn’t just Belldegrun who will walk away from the transaction with a fat bank account. Other members of the C suite team at Kite have also become quite wealthy. Kite’s Chief Operations Officer Cynthia Buttita will walk away with $121 million from the deal. That includes $14.2 million worth of Kite stock she already had, plus an additional approximately $68 million in vested and unvested stocks. Buttita also grabbed a $39 million golden parachute, Endpoints reported.

David Chang, Kite’s head of research and development, will earn about $98 million from the deal. Endpoints noted that he did not have as much Kite stock as Buttita did, but will still pick up vested and unvested shares, as well as a $37 million golden parachute.

Gilead and Kite struck the $11.9 billion deal at the end of August. With the deal in place, Gilead has become a major player in the booming world of immuno-oncology with Kite’s likely soon-to-be-approved CAR-T treatment. In May, Kite received priority review from the FDA for its CAR-T treatment, axicabtagene ciloleucel. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to make a decision on Nov. 29 for the treatment of patients with refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

In February, Kite’s late-stage candidate wowed when it met its primary endpoints. Kite said the ZUMA-1 study showed 82 percent of the 101 patients who received a single infusion of the drug saw the tumors shrink by half. The company said the results of the study show how effective the CAR-T therapy is for a patient population with multiple types of aggressive NHL, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), as well as primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL).

Kite’s CAR-T therapy coupled with that company’s manufacturing capabilities and “portfolio of next-generation technologies and therapy candidates” will serve as a foundation for Gilead’s efforts to build an industry-leading cell therapy franchise, Gilead said in its announcement.

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