Emergent BioSolutions, the manufacturer at the center of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine bungle, gave its chief executive officer a 51 percent compensation bump in 2020 — bringing his total remuneration to a whopping $5.6 million.
On top of a lucrative $893,000 salary, CEO Robert Kramer received a $1.2 million bonus and $3.5 million in stock awards and options, according to the company’s filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission late Friday.
Emergent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year contributed Kramer’s juiced-up compensation package, the company said, citing the expansion of its contract manufacturing business.
The Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company boasted a 41 percent increase in revenue in 2020, after it inked vaccine manufacturing deals with J&J and AstraZeneca at its Baltimore plant.
Its success was also largely fueled by a massive $628 million federal contract to upgrade and reserve capacity, in order to fulfill government vaccine orders and fight the pandemic.
But problems at Emergent became public on March 31 after a mix-up at its Baltimore plant contaminated J&J’s vaccine — ruining 15 million of the single-dose shots.
The screw-up has now caused delays in the Baltimore facility’s Food and Drug Administration’s certification, according to the Washington Post.
The plant is not currently authorized to supply J&J does to Americans — with all of the one-dose jabs being doled out in the US coming from J&J’s own plant in the Netherlands, which received authorization in late February.
The mistake also caused the federal government to remove all production of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, the outlet said.
As a result, the government has cut the amount of J&J vaccines allocated to states, and the company has walked back its pledge to deliver 24 million doses of vaccines to the federal government in April.
Meanwhile, it came to light earlier this month that Emergent has been embroiled in quality control problems for some time.
The FDA has repeatedly cited the company for a myriad of potentially dangerous issues, such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and problems managing mold and other contamination around one of its facilities, according to records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act. The records cover inspections at Emergent facilities since 2017.
Emergent has not publicly the issues in any detail, but it told The Washington Post that it has hosted the FDA several times at its facility.
Those visits included “reviews of the progress on the items cited in past FDA visits,” the company told the outlet.
In response to the latest manufacturing issues, however, Emergent has received another $23 million from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to purchase more vaccine manufacturing equipment and expand its J&J production.
“Emergent’s top priority continues to be the strengthening of the supply chain for Johnson & Johnson’s vitally needed COVID-19 vaccine,” Kramer said an April 4 press release. “We have been working closely with Johnson & Johnson and welcome the additional oversight and support at our Bayview facility.”