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Rich, With a Beat-Up Car

New drugs coming out of biotech companies have made millionaires out of a number of scientists, clinicians, and investors, the Wall Street Journal reports. But, it adds, this newfound wealth hasn't always led to lavish spending on their part.

For instance, Paul Friedman, a former associate professor at Harvard Medical School, was chief executive of Incyte and led the company "from lean times through the successful launch of a drug to treat a rare cancer," according to the Journal. He recently sold $146.1 million in shares — but still drives a seven-year-old car, the Journal says.

Last year was a banner year for biotech mergers and acquisitions and large payouts went to shareholders of acquired biotechs, the WSJ reports. Further, it notes that biotech executives and directors were among the top stock sellers last year of the Nasdaq-100.

John Martin, executive chairman of Gilead Sciences, came in sixth on that list with $190.6 million in sales. But Gilead, Bruce Montgomery, a former senior vice president there, tells the Journal, has a "reputation for thriftiness."

"If you met these guys at Home Depot," Montgomery adds, "you wouldn't know they were rich."

Sheila Gujrathi, former chief medical officer at Receptos, which was acquired by Celgene for $7.2 billion last year, was also among biotech big earners as she received $75 million for her shares, the Journal notes.

"If you go into medicine, you don't grow up thinking you could be a multimillionaire," Gujrathi says. "To find myself in a position where I have a substantial amount of wealth, yes, it's surprising and life-changing."