Merrion hikes pay despite hefty losses

Directors’ pay levels at Dublin-based drug development company, Merrion Pharmaceuticals increased by almost €700,000 last year, despite the company’s net losses doubling.

The company — which underwent management changes during 2011 and began a new strategic cost-cutting plan — paid its board of directors a combined total of nearly €1.38m for the year. This figure was up on the combined remuneration of €696,684 in 2010.

Former chief executive John Lynch pocketed €804,343; up from a total package of €404,684 in 2010. His replacement, Jonathan O’Connell — who was formerly Merrion’s chief financial officer — saw his package total €357,689. The basic salaries of those two executive directors amounted to €685,429 and €295,845, respectively.

Merrion’s latest annual report does not give a prior year’s comparison for Mr O’Connell’s pay level as he was not a board member in 2010, only having been elected to the board last May.

Chairman Michael Donnelly saw his total remuneration package fall marginally, last year, from €36,634 to €31,150.

Merrion is currently developing its headline in-trial drug, Orazol for a number of different therapy uses, including metastatic bone disease and breast cancer. It also has an ongoing collaboration agreement with Danish healthcare company, Novo Nordisk.

The company recorded a net loss of €6.53m in 2011; up from a loss of €2.51m for 2010. Operating losses in the year also increased from €2.36m to €6.22m.

Total revenue for the year was also significantly down — going from €4.68m in 2010 to €1.24m. The company said that its rising net losses was “largely due to a decrease in revenue, when compared to the prior year”.

Merrion’s restructuring plan, due to be completed this summer, is set to reduce the company’s monthly operating costs by €175,000. The board said that the result would be a sustainable company through to 2014.


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