Local biotech CEO says he was left with no options but to sue another company on whose board he once served

John Maraganore, CEO of Alnylam in Cambridge, is suing a Maryland biotech company for allegedly eliminating the stock options he got while serving on its board of directors before it went public.

In his suit against MacroGenics, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Marganore says MacroGenics's CEO told him his stock options would not expire until 2016 when he stepped down from that company's board in 2009, as long as he stayed on as a consultant.

Marganore says he did stay on as a consultant, but that when he tried to exercise those options after MacroGenics went public last year, he was told the options had, in fact, been rescinded shortly after he left the board.

Marganore says that was the first he had heard of that. He is seeking what he says is the $1.53 million value of the options - based on MacroGenics's current stock value - damages and lawyers' fees.

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sounds like they were

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sounds like they were privately held until recently, there would be no easy way to check, although with the benefit of retrospect he should have got something in writing (maybe he did?). I am surprised things went this far, these guys pride themselves on their civility even when they don't like each other. Just filing the suit is a serious public fuck you to the board.

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I'm not sure you know how

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I'm not sure you know how stock options work. Under the options, he has to pay the company money to turn the options into stock. Doing this while it is privately held is silly because he cannot easily sell the stock. Once the company goes public, he can pay whatever price is on the options (typically much lower than the price once it is public) and immediately sell to realize a gain. Or at least sell enough to cover the cash needed to exercise the options.

slow news day, i guess

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How is this important to anyone other than Mr. Marganore, MacroGenics and their attorneys?

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it's important

as a reminder that biotech companies have sleazy thieves in their management just like cigarette companies and hazardous waste companies. Just because they look more like you and me and the Globe thinks they are unicorns shitting rainbows, doesn't make it so. Human nature is pretty much a constant.

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yeah, seriously, nice to read

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yeah, seriously, nice to read something here that's not about a broken train or bickering about bikes. Adam, I love this place.