April 14, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Kenilworth, N.J.-based Merck & Co. (MRK)’s recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings indicate that CEO Kenneth Frazier will see an increase in total compensation of about 87 percent this year. In addition, Robert Davis, company chief financial officer, will see an increase of about 10 percent over his predecessor, Peter Kellogg, and general counsel Bruce Kuhlik’s compensation jumped almost 71 percent.
By deadline Merck had not responded to a request for a statement.
Kenneth Frazier’s compensation increase was primarily caused by stock awards. His base pay has remained steady at $1.5 million, but the overall compensation package hit $25 million.
Robert Davis joined Merck in April 2014. His total compensation package was $12.8 million, which included a sign-on bonus of $2.5 million. His base pay was $650,384. His predecessor, Peter Kellogg, had a total compensation package of $5.4 million. Bruce Kuhlik, company’s general counsel, has a base pay of $807,492 and his total compensation is valued at $6.2 million, up about 71 percent from the previous year.
This news coincides with a slight downgrade in the company’s rating by Fitch Ratings. Fitch Ratings downgraded Merck’s long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from “A+” to “A,” and revised the Rating Outlook to Stable from Negative.
Although there is much favorable information in the Fitch analysis, including a strong pipeline and a solid position in the industry and market, it states, “Declining revenue, driven by weak utilization in developed markets, the divestiture of the consumer business and foreign exchange headwinds. Somewhat offsetting the decline are relatively stronger demand in emerging markets, a moderating patent cliff and incremental revenue from pipeline commercialization.”
The company also announced today that, with Ames, Iowa-based NewLink Genetics, they had received two Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) awards. The awards were top honors in the “Best Vaccine License” and “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” categories. The awards were presented during the 15th Annual World Vaccine Congress on April 8 in Washington, D.C.
The two companies had entered into a worldwide license and collaborative agreement for an Ebola vaccine candidate, rVSV-EBOV. The other finalists for the awards included vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Pfizer Inc. (PFE).
Merck also received the “Best Pharma Company” award.
“We are delighted to see our collaboration with NewLink receive this level of recognition from our industry colleagues,” said Mark Feinberg, chief public health and science officer of Merck Vaccines in a statement. “These awards also recognize the close working relationship we have established in developing our rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine candidate.”