"Regeneron CEO Dr. Leonard "Len" Schleifer, who founded the company in 1988, says he takes pride in the fact that his team is known for doing "zero" acquisitions. All 11 drugs in the company's clinical-stage pipeline stem from in-house discoveries. He prefers a science-first approach to running a biotech company, hiring [CSO George] Yancopoulos to run R&D in 1989, and he endorsed a 2012 pay package for the chief scientist that was more than twice the size of his own compensation last year.
Scientists run Regeneron. Like Yancopoulos, Schleifer is an Ivy League academic scientist turned biotech executive. Regeneron gained early scientific credibility with a 1990 paper in the journal Science on cloning neurotrophin factor, a research area that was part of a partnership with industry giant Amgen. Schleifer has recruited three Nobel Prize-winning scientists to the Board of Directors, which is led by long-time company Chairman Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, who had a hand in discovering the first statin and delivering a breakthrough treatment for a parasitic cause of blindness to patients in Africa.
"I remember these people from Pfizer used to go around telling us, 'You know, blockbusters aren't discovered, they're made,' as though commercial people made the blockbuster," Schleifer said in an interview. "Well, get lost. Science, science, science--that's what this business is about."
From all of us toiling away at the bench on this sweltering summer day: Thanks, Dr. Len!