Kelly Martin skips to a new CEO suite as his last biotech team raises the white flag

A few months after stepping away from the helm of a biotech with a fluttering pulse, ex-Elan chief Kelly Martin is back in charge of another drug company with its own set of issues to deal with.

Radius Health in Waltham, MA announced that the 61-year-old Martin is stepping in to replace Jesper Hoeiland, the Novo vet who is now headed home to Denmark. Hoeiland was brought in to lead the charge on a new osteoporosis drug marketed as Tymlos, which hasn?t been going well.

According to an SEC filing, Martin gets a salary of $600,000 and starts off with an option on 575,000 shares, which he can buy at current market value as they vest over 4 years ? time he can use to add value to the company.

Once a high flier in biotech ? literally, Martin enjoyed the use of a private jet at Elan that drew quite a bit of heat from the activists before he sold the company for $8.6 billion ? the ex-banker with roots in Merrill Lynch went on to manage biotech investor Malin and then Novan, a biotech in North Carolina that collapsed as its lead drug failed.

Novan $NOVN put out an SOS just a few days ago, announcing a review of its (limited) strategic options as the share price withered to around 38 cents.

According to the last proxy statement available from Novan, Martin picked up $730,000 in salary and bonus for 2018, with about as much in stock options. He held equity valued at more than $15 million ? though the current share price would indicate a collapse on that score.

At Radius $RDUS, Martin gets a company that has seen its stock price slide steadily since winning the race with Amgen (which had romo) on osteoporosis and jumping into the market with Tymlos (abaloparatide). When it was first approved, sell-side consensus estimated peak sales in 2022 at $467 million.

Martin and his new team have a long way to go before they get there, though. Total sales for 2019 were $173 million, but growing.

Social image: Kelly Martin, incoming Radius CEO (Andre Camara, The Times)