Pharmacyclics executives to share $4bn after sale of company

AbbVie won $21bn bidding war for Californian biotech group

Pharmacyclics makes just one drug, the cancer treatment Imbruvica

Pharmacyclics makes just one drug, the cancer treatment Imbruvica


Executives and directors at Pharmacyclics are to share almost $4 billion from the sale of the company for $21 billion to AbbVie, which won a three- way bidding war for the Californian biotech group this month.

Robert Duggan, Pharmacyclics chief executive, is in line to receive the lion’s share of the payout – about $3.55 – billion for his 18 per cent stake, while Mahkam Zanganeh, chief operating officer, will pocket $225 million for her shares and options.

Nine other executives and directors will get an average payout of $23 million each, according to a securities filing.

The sale will crystallise a return of more than 70-fold for Mr Duggan, who amassed much of his stake in 2009 when the company was in difficulties and its share price was languishing at about $1.

The filing also shows AbbVie dug deep to outbid Johnson & Johnson and a third unidentified bidder.

In total, five companies approached Pharmacyclics about taking over the group, which makes just one drug – the cancer treatment Imbruvica – providing fresh evidence for those who fear big pharma is paying too much for biotech groups. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015