Top 15 highest paid biopharma R&D chiefs

Being an R&D chief at a major biopharma company in today's environment of major research cutbacks, patent expirations and pressure from investors to speed new drugs to market is no easy task--and that's why the world's top drug research gurus are bringing in the big bucks.

We sifted through proxy statements and other public documents for the financial details on pay for some of the most powerful R&D players in the industry. Combined, these 15 highest-paid R&D execs earned about $144.3 million in 2012, compared with $69.1 million in 2011, a 109% increase.

One man's compensation fueled that spectacular rise. George Yancopoulos, Regeneron's ($REGN) co-founder and chief scientific officer, brought in an $81.55 million package after a standout 2012. The company's blockbuster eye drug Eylea brought in $838 million for the year, its first on the market, and it's expected to reach about $1.3 billion this year. Regeneron's board shared the wealth--and generously.

Seven R&D chiefs on our list got a raise last year, compared with 6 whose pay packages were cut. Among the unfortunate 6 were several from companies retooling their R&D strategies, including Merck's ($MRK) Peter Kim, recently replaced by former Amgen exec Roger Perlmutter; Pfizer's ($PFE) Mikael Dolsten; and GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Moncef Slaoui. We didn't make year-to-year comparisons for the remaining two, who were either hired or promoted in 2012--Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Paul Stoffels and Amgen's ($AMGN) Sean Harper.

You may notice that some Big Biopharma R&D executives don't appear on our list, including those at Abbott Labs ($ABT), AstraZeneca ($AZN), Sanofi ($SNY), Roche ($RHHBY), Baxter ($BAX) and Bayer. For a variety of reasons, these companies did not disclose their R&D chief's compensation. In the U.S., companies are only required to report figures for their 5 highest-paid managers. In Europe, a patchwork of rules apply; some drugmakers disclose only their CEO's pay. In Roche's case, compensation details are available for its executive committee, but that group doesn't include the pharma division's R&D head.

If this report whets your appetite for executive pay numbers, check out our previous ranking of the  Top 10 Biotech CEO Pay Packages of 2012 and FiercePharma's longer list of the Top 20 Highest-Paid Biopharma CEOs of 2012. -- Emily Mullin (email | Twitter) | Skye Toor | Tracy Staton (email | Twitter) | John Carroll (email | Twitter)

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