George Yancopoulos is a life-long New Yorker who won 4th place at the Westinghouse Science Talent Search while at the Bronx High School of Science, where he also graduated as valedictorian. Yancopoulos went on to become valedictorian of Columbia College, where he also earned his MD and PhD. Yancopoulos left academia in 1989 to become the scientific founder of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he is currently President of Regeneron Laboratories and Chief Scientific Officer.
Yancopoulos is a rare individual who has not only built one of the world’s “top ten” biotech companies from the ground up (working with his long-time partner, Dr. Len Schleifer, who is Regeneron’s CEO), but simultaneously been recognized as a world-class basic science researcher, while also inventing some of the most valuable technologies and FDA-approved drugs in the industry.
Yancopoulos has authored more than 350 scientific manuscripts, and, according to a study by the Institute for Scientific Information, was the eleventh most highly cited scientist in the world during the 1990s. In 2004, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Working with his team at Regeneron, Yancopoulos holds almost 100 patents, including for Regeneron’s foundational platforms for target and drug discovery such as Trap Technology, VelociGene and VelocImmune. Yancopoulos is also a principal inventor and developer of Regeneron’s three FDA-approved drugs, including EYLEA® for age-related macular degeneration, ZALTRAP® for colorectal cancer, and ARCALYST® for orphan inflammatory disease. EYLEA® has achieved blockbuster status, with one of the biggest launches in biotech history.
Yancopoulos’ team has recently progressed several fully human monoclonal antibodies (derived using his VelocImmune platform) into advanced human trials for various indications, including cholesterol-lowering, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and atopy.