Regeneron R&D chief finally nabs his 2012 share bonus—and its value tripled to $193M

Regeneron
CEO Len Schleifer and R&D chief George Yancopoulos both saw their pay shrink a bit in 2017. (Regeneron)

Regeneron had plenty to boast about back in 2012. Its macular degeneration injection, Eylea, went gangbusters after its 2011 launch. No one reaped as much recognition for that drug’s debut than R&D chief George Yancopoulos—in the form of compensation, at least.

That was the year he topped biopharma with a pay package of $81 million, thanks to a 500,000-share special award. Value then? $57 million.

Now, Yancopoulos has put those shares in his pocket. They vested Dec. 31, according to the company’s 2018 proxy statement. Value now? $193 million.

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That doesn’t mean Yancopoulos pocketed the cash from those shares, though. Because they were reported as part of his 2012 package, they don’t hit his pay report this year, either.

But to illustrate the nature of that bonus of sorts: Yancopoulos’ share award was a departure from the usual for Regeneron, which typically eschews annual share awards in favor of stock options. Neither Yancopoulos nor any of his fellow top executives collected stock awards last year.

RELATED: How Regeneron's Yancopoulos became the top-paid executive in biotech

And overall, Yancopoulos’ pay for 2017 was decidedly more modest at $25 million, a decline from the previous year’s $27.8 million. CEO Leonard Schliefer also took a cut of somewhat less than 10%, with his compensation summing up to about $26.5 million, down from $28.3 million in 2016.

For each of them, options were the lion’s share at almost $22 million each. The rest was divided among salary, incentive pay and other compensation, including fees and tax gross-ups for antitrust filings each of them had to make when they decided to buy more Regeneron shares.

Though the past five years delivered a big leap in value for Yancopoulos’ 500,000 shares—thanks to a stock are that skyrocketed to $367 at the end of last year from around $115 in June 2012, when the shares were granted.

RELATED: An undervalued use for Regeneron's Eylea could help it weather Novartis threat

That’s not to say Regeneron shares have been performing well lately, however. In fact, the stock has taken a long fall downhill in recent months after facing slower than expected sales of its cholesterol med Praluent, increased competition for Eylea, and a Dupixent launch that, while strong for the early days of a rollout, still fell short of investors’ sky-high estimates. The stock has dropped precipitously over the past nine months or so, from $526 last Aug. 22 to $316 at yesterday’s close.

Incidentally, Eylea keeps growing, albeit at a slower pace. Its 2017 sales amounted to $3.7 billion, up from $3.2 billion in 2016, according to the company’s latest earnings release. Its share of Bayer’s intake from Eylea—the German drugmaker sells the med outside the U.S.—came to $938 million, a $200 million increase for the year. Grand total: $4.6 billion.