Business, People

Biotech stars Schleifer and Yancopoulos share $52M in 2017 compensation, even though Regeneron’s share price swooned

Two of the best paid executives in biopharma have earned another big set of compensation packages for 2017.

Len Schleifer

Regeneron $REGN CEO Len Schleifer earned compensation totaling $26.5 million for last year, a small step down from the $28.3 million picked up in 2016, according to their newly filed proxy. And his co-founder at the company, George Yancopoulos, was right behind him with $25.2 million in compensation — $2.5 million less than in 2017.

While Regeneron is in the second tier of biopharma companies — behind the top 15 players in biopharma — these two built the company from scratch and pay themselves accordingly for the value they’ve created. Back in 2012 Yancopoulos picked up a jaw-dropping pay package worth $81.5 million — the kind of king’s ransom for an R&D chief you never see anywhere except Regeneron.

George Yancopoulos

Those big earnings allowed Yancopoulos to realize $264 million in the exercise value of his stock options, while Schelifer bagged an exercise value of $90 million.

Schleifer didn’t bat an eye at what the company’s paid Regeneron in 2012, saying he’s been focused on keeping his rock star research chief happy to stay on.

The money continues to flow, in smaller amounts, though Regeneron has had some stiff headwinds over the past year that has pushed down its share value by 38% from its 12-month high. Novartis is pushing a late-stage successor to Eylea and Regeneron’s PCSK9 drug has yet to live up to the high-flying status that Regeneron had anticipated. 

Regeneron has a market cap set at $34 billion.


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