Fury over Elan’s €4.6m jet bill

MANAGEMENT at the Dublin-headquartered pharmaceutical company, Elan have ceased using private jets to get to meetings in the US after investors reacted angrily to revelations that senior executives racked up a $6 million (€4.6 million) jet hire bill.

Bloomberg reported that Elan’s chief executive Kelly Martin and other senior management figures ran up the bill with private jet maker, General Dynamics, by making numerous visits to the company’s research centre in San Francisco on one of the aviation company’s Gulfstream jets.

A spokesperson for Elan — which co-owns the lucrative Tysabri multiple sclerosis drug and has a pipeline of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease treatments at various clinical trial and pre-testing stages — confirmed that the company was not using such travel arrangements any longer, but added that the figure quoted by the news agency was random and not disclosed by the company.

They also said that Elan chairman, Kyran McLaughlin, had previously outlined to investors, via written letter, that management at the firm spent less than 1% of the company’s $600m+ operating expenses on private jets last year, but hadn’t disclosed an exact figure.

Meanwhile, early reports from this year’s annual American Academy of Neurology Conference — currently taking place in Seattle — suggest that the risk profile of a new multiple sclerosis treatment being tested by US pharmaceutical company, Merck Serono, is not as positive as Tysabri, which is currently leading the market in the US for Elan and its partner, Biogen Idec.


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