Regeneron chief outranks every other biopharma CEO with $36M in 2013 pay

Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer

Last year, little Regeneron ($REGN) gave its top executives a big payday. The company's vision-loss drug Eylea was breaking sales records left and right. Its colon cancer drug, developed with Sanofi ($SNY), had hit the market. And the company's board figured that keeping its key people was worth millions--a total of $140 million, in fact, mostly in stock and option awards.

The company's R&D chief, George Yancopoulos, took more than $80 million of that, but CEO Leonard Schleifer wasn't left out; he netted a $30 million pay package, putting him in first place on FiercePharma's annual list of highest-paid executives.

Now, Schleifer has Yancopoulos beat. In fact, he has almost every biopharma CEO beat.

Schleifer's 2013 pay package amounted to $36.3 million, an increase of 21%.

That makes him the industry's highest-paid chief of the year once again. Tony Coles, who headed up Onyx Pharmaceuticals till Amgen ($AMGN) bought the company last year, walked away with an estimated $63 million in goodbye pay, including severance, bonus, and cash from newly vested options and shares. But among CEOs still on the job, Schleifer is No. 1.


For a reason, look no further than Eylea, which jumped to blockbuster status last year. After an already impressive launch beginning in November 2011, Eylea brought in $1.41 billion in the U.S. for 2013, a year-over-year increase of 70%. The drug is going strong overseas, too, with Bayer racking up about $472 million for the year.

The company's performance has been strong enough to prompt Sanofi ($SNY), its partner on a promising experimental cholesterol drug in addition to Zaltrap, to raise its stake in the company several times over the past year. That cholesterol fighter, alirocumab, is part of a closely watched class of new drugs, and analysts have forecast as much as $3 billion in sales.

Special Reports: The Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars - Eylea | 20 Highest-Paid Biopharma CEOs of 2012 - Leonard 'Len' Schleifer - Regeneron | 10 top drugs in biopharma's late-stage pipeline - Alirocumab, Sanofi and Regeneron