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August 1, 2021
New York Times - Politics

A U.S. company that ruined vaccine doses gave its top executives hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses.

A U.S. company that ruined vaccine doses gave its top executives hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses.
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Mr. Kramer received a $1.2 million cash bonus, the records show; the board found that he had “significantly exceeded expectations.” Three of the company’s executive vice presidents received bonuses ranging from $445,000 to $462,000 each.

Sean Kirk, the executive responsible for overseeing development and manufacturing operations at all of Emergent’s manufacturing sites, received a special bonus of $100,000 last year, over and above his regular bonus of $320,611, in recognition of his “exceptional performance in 2020,” and for significantly expanding the company’s contract manufacturing capability to address Covid-19, the documents show. After the discovery that workers had accidentally contaminated a batch of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine with the virus used to produced another vaccine at the same plant, the company said Mr. Kirk had taken personal leave from his job.

Mr. El-Hibri, who was praised for leveraging his connections, cashed in stock worth $42 million last year, according to an investigation by The Times.

Over the past two decades, Emergent has grown from a fledgling biotech company into a firm with annual revenues that last year topped $1.5 billion. Much of its success has come from selling products aimed at thwarting a bioterrorist attack, including its anthrax vaccine, to the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s emergency medical reserve.

The $628 million contract, awarded by the Trump administration nearly a year ago, was mostly to reserve space at Emergent’s Baltimore plant for vaccine manufacturing. The contract was approved by a former Trump administration official, Dr. Robert Kadlec, who previously consulted for Emergent.

The documents show that Emergent retained Dr. Kadlec to serve as a consultant from 2012 through 2015, agreeing to pay him $120,000 annually over that three-year period. In return, Dr. Kadlec agreed to provide advice on “international biosecurity and biodefense related issues to Emergent BioSolutions,” including outreach to senior government officials in Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Dr. Kadlec has said that while he did not negotiate the contract, he did sign off on it. The documents also show that last August he recommended that Emergent be given a “priority rating” so that suppliers would give preference to its requests.

Rebecca R. Ruiz contributed reporting.

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