Emergent BioSolutions' congressional testimony: 4 things to know

Two top executives at Emergent BioSolutions are testifying before a House subcommittee May 19 as part of an investigation into the company's COVID-19 contracts and manufacturing processes. 

Fuad El-Hibri, Emergent's founder and executive chairman, and Robert Kramer, CEO, are testifying before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. An Emergent spokesperson, Matt Hartwig, told The New York Times May 19 that the company executives "look forward to clarifying misconceptions and addressing concerns” of members of Congress." 

Four things to know about Emergent BioSolutions and the congressional hearing: 

  1. The U.S. government awarded Emergent a $628 million contract to make COVID-19 vaccines, and so far has paid the company $271 million, despite the fact that regulators haven't cleared any doses of vaccines produced at its Baltimore plant, the Times reported. Production at the plant was halted a month ago after workers accidentally mixed up ingredients for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine with ingredients for AstraZeneca's vaccine, spoiling 15 million vaccine doses.

  2. Emergent awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to top executives last year, according to documents released by the House subcommittee May 19. CEO Robert Kramer, received a $1.2 million cash bonus, as the board found he "significantly exceeded expectations," the Times reported. Three of Emergent's executive vice presidents received bonuses between $445,000 and $462,000 each. Sean Kirk, who is responsible for overseeing development and manufacturing operations at all of emergency manufacturing sites, received a special $100,000 bonus on top of his regular bonus of $320,611, according to the Times. The bonus was to recognize his "exceptional performance in 2020," and for significantly expanding the company's contract manufacturing capability to address COVID-19, the documents say.

  3. Since 2018, Mr. El-Hibri and his wife have donated at least $150,0000 to groups affiliated with the top Republican on the House subcommittee, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., as well as to his campaigns, the Times reported. At least two other remembers of the subcommittee received donations from Emergent's political action committee during the 2020 election. The company has given about $1.4 million to members of both parties in the last 10 years, the Times reported.

  4. Mr. El-Hibri was praised by Emergent's board for "leveraging his critical relationships with key customers, Congress and other stakeholders," the documents show, according to the Times. The House panel is investigating whether Emergent used its contacts with the Trump administration to land hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 vaccine contracts. Mr. El-Hibri cashed in stock worth $42 million last year, according to a Times investigation.

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