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Pay for CEO of Emergent BioSolutions, maker of COVID vaccine in Baltimore, increased 51% in 2020

The president and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions, a Gaithersburg-based maker of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine at a troubled East Baltimore plant, saw his compensation grow 51% last year.

Robert Kramer, 63, who has led Emergent BioSolutions since April 2019, earned $5.6 million in 2020, up from $3.7 million in total pay in 2019, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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After a mix-up at its East Baltimore manufacturing plant near the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center ruined about 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the federal government gave the New Jersey-based drug company control of the Emergent BioSolutions facility. The plant, built with federal funds for responding biothreats to the nation, has not yet received emergency use authorization from the federal government.

Emergent BioSolutions’ stock price has fallen 18% since the end of March as the plant’s problems were publicized. Its shares closed Monday at $75.86 each.

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Maryland health officials said last week that they expect to see a drastic reduction in the state’s allocation of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine this week. The department declined to comment on the reason for the reduction. Officials have said all the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distributed in Maryland is made in Europe.

On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan revised that expectation, saying the state expects to receive 250,000 fewer doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the next three weeks, up from 78,000 state officials initially said they would be short.

Johnson & Johnson has said that a 15 million dose batch of urgently needed COVID-19 vaccine had to be destroyed because it did not meet the company’s quality standards. Emergent Biosolutions reportedly mixed up the ingredients of two vaccines to ruin the batch.

The plant also had been making the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which is not yet authorized for emergency use in the United States, and two others that are in trials. Now it is focused solely on making the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In a statement earlier this month, Emergent BioSolutions said that its quality control systems worked as designed to detect and isolate a single batch of “drug substance” that needed to be discarded.

“Discarding a batch of bulk drug substance, while disappointing, does occasionally happen during vaccine manufacturing, which is a complex and multi-step biological process,” the company said.

Emergent BioSolutions has received hundreds of millions in federal dollars to boost production of COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, including at its East Baltimore factory.

In its annual proxy statement, the company said it has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response as a vaccine manufacturing partner for collaborators who developed the vaccines.

The company’s societal impact has been “significant, especially considering the critical role our company is currently playing in the national responses to two major public health threats: COVID-19 and the opioid overdose crisis,” the company said in its proxy.

Kramer’s compensation included $893,860 in annual salary, a $1.2 million bonus, $2 million in stock awards and $1.4 million in stock options, the annual proxy filing showed. He also received $8,675 in other compensation.

The board of directors’ compensation committee said it approved Kramer’s 2020 bonus based on corporate performance, including significantly outperforming targets for revenues and earnings; overall leadership; high visibility with customers, employees and shareholders; reaching corporate goals; and making significant progress in reaching long-term goals.

The CEO’s base salary will increase to $1 million this year, the proxy said.

Baltimore Sun reporters Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.

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