Re­gen­eron’s CEO, CSO saw their com­pen­sa­tion slashed in ’16 — but it’s still a jaw-drop­ping sum

CEO Len Schleifer

Re­gen­eron has long set the pace for set­ting aside the rich­est an­nu­al pay pack­ages in the biotech in­dus­try for its out­spo­ken CEO Len Schleifer and R&D chief George Yan­copou­los. And in 2016 they brought home a moth­er lode of wealth — which still fell far short of what they made in the pre­vi­ous two years.

On Tues­day the biotech $REGN filed their proxy state­ment with the SEC, and the out­spo­ken Schleifer came out with a full com­pen­sa­tion award of $28.3 mil­lion built on an an­nu­al salary of $1.25 mil­lion. His CSO Yan­copou­los earned com­pen­sa­tion to­tal­ing a very close $27.8 mil­lion.

The pay pack­ets fol­lowed a year that was marked by a strug­gle to dom­i­nate a mar­ket for PC­SK9 drugs, with some big wins in court as the ac­tu­al rev­enue re­mained mea­ger. In the mean­time they were dealt a set­back on sar­ilum­ab, when reg­u­la­tors at the FDA found prob­lems with their man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners at Sanofi. But Re­gen­eron and Sanofi al­so re­cent­ly scored an ap­proval for Dupix­ent, wide­ly tapped as a po­ten­tial megablock­buster in the mak­ing.

George Yan­copou­los

For what­ev­er rea­son, though, the two had their pay slashed from the ex­tra­or­di­nary lev­els post­ed in 2015 and 2014. Schleifer earned $47.6 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion in 2015, with $42 mil­lion the year be­fore. For Yan­copou­los it was $40 mil­lion and $35.5 mil­lion.

The rest of the team saw sim­i­lar re­wards, and cuts. Neil Stahl, EVP of re­search, grabbed a pack­age worth $11 mil­lion, al­so a top-lev­el re­ward for the in­dus­try. But it was down from $18.3 mil­lion in ’15. CFO Robert Landry bagged $5.1 mil­lion, down from $8.2 mil­lion.

Com­pa­nies of­ten like to say that they’re care­ful to see how their ex­ec­u­tives’ com­pen­sa­tion com­pare to their peers in the in­dus­try, but while Schleifer can more than hold his own with the best paid Big Phar­ma ex­ecs — Ken Fra­zier at Mer­ck earned com­pen­sa­tion to­tal­ing $21.8 mil­lion last year — Yan­copou­los is way ahead of any­one he could con­sid­er a peer.

Paul Stof­fels, J&J

In the most re­cent roundup of CSO salaries, which I’ll be ex­plor­ing more lat­er in the week, on­ly J&J’s Paul Stof­fels, at $12.7 mil­lion for 2016, comes close. Most Big Phar­ma R&D chiefs earn com­pen­sa­tion of around $6 mil­lion to $8 mil­lion a year.

But Yan­copou­los has long been set­ting a stan­dard of one. In 2012 his com­pen­sa­tion rang up at $81.3 mil­lion.

Schleifer, though, has al­ways un­apolo­get­i­cal­ly main­tained that he had to pay Yan­copou­los more than the in­dus­try av­er­age, to keep him at Re­gen­eron, where the two have been cred­it­ed with a big run of new drug ap­provals af­ter they start­ed the com­pa­ny to­geth­er in 1989.

“George is the most tal­ent­ed guy in the in­dus­try,” Schleifer told Fierce­Biotech a few years ago. “I want­ed to make sure that he had ab­solute­ly no rea­son to go some­place else or go out on his own, be­cause we can pay him hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars or we can buy his drugs for bil­lions of dol­lars when he’s at an­oth­er com­pa­ny. So it’s a lot cheap­er this way.”

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Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

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