Booming Regeneron to hire 400 staffers in big R&D expansion

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ($REGN) has rolled out plans to add about 400 new workers to its fast-growing staff after it builds two new facilities, adding 300,000 square feet of lab and office space to its sprawling campus in New York state.

With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo adding an enthusiastic endorsement of the economic development coup, CEO Leonard Schleifer says that the blueprints will bring Regeneron's complex in Westchester County to close to a million square feet. Six years ago, he added, the company employed 682 people. Today that figure is 2,000, and rising.

"Our recently approved drugs and our robust development pipeline have transformed Regeneron into one of the largest and fastest-growing biopharmaceutical companies in the United States," said Scheifer. This new expansion comes on top of Regeneron's announcement last fall to invest about $70 million to expand its manufacturing capacity in Rensselaer and create 300 new jobs in the area.

Regeneron has been growing fast after achieving some landmark R&D goals.

CEO Leonard Schleifer

In the company's 24th year Schleifer took Regeneron's first big product--the eye drug Eylea for wet age-related macular degeneration--and racked up $838 million in sales. The red-hot drug--now a case study in successful drug launches--is on the road to easily achieve blockbuster status in 2013, showing the industry how rapidly a development-stage company can ramp up a successful commercialization effort. Last August, the company picked up FDA approval for Zaltrap, a colorectal cancer treatment developed with Sanofi ($SNY). Regeneron is also angling to be the first on the market with an antibody to PCSK9, a new target for LDL cholesterol. REGN727, also a Sanofi team-up, is the first PCSK9-targeting treatment to reach Phase III, recruiting 18,000 patients in 11 studies to see if the drug can in fact safely slash the rates of heart attack and stroke.

- here's the press release

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