On this page, we've listed key steps on the journey that has led Regeneron to where the company is today.
Regeneron is founded in New York City
Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., a young neurologist and assistant professor at Cornell University Medical College, establishes the company based on the principle that dedication to strong science would lead to important new medicines. His two co-founders are nationally-known scientists Drs. Alfred Gilman, Len's Ph.D. thesis advisor at the University of Virginia, and Dr. Eric Shooter. Drs. Gilman and Shooter recruit other leading scientists to join the company’s scientific advisory board to help guide the young company. Two of those scientists, Dr. Joseph Goldstein and Dr. Michael Brown, shared a Nobel Prize in 1985, and Dr. Gilman would go on to win a Nobel in 1994. The company is named Regeneron because of the intention to focus on the use of gene technology to regenerate neurons. The first $1 million is raised from Merrill Lynch Venture Capital, Inc.
George Yancopoulos joins Company as it opens labs in Tarrytown, NY; Company signs first corporate collaboration
George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., a highly regarded young molecular immunologist at Columbia University, joins Len as they open the laboratory in about 10,000 sq. ft. of space in Westchester County. Regeneron begins research on neurotrophic factors (proteins that promote nerve growth) that may be relevant to diseases of the brain and central nervous system. Shortly thereafter, Regeneron pens its first collaboration, with Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical.
Regeneron publishes first paper in Science, on cloning a novel neurotrophic factor, which becomes the most highly cited neurobiology paper of the year
The Company quickly established itself as one of the top research groups in the industry, as Yancopoulos and his team publish a featured article in Science magazine on the cloning of a novel neurotrophic factor (Maisonpierre et al., 1990).
Company collaborates with Amgen to develop neurotrophic factors brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) & neurotrophin-3 (NT-3)
Regeneron launches an “Orphan Receptor” Program, which lays foundation for future Traps and Growth Factor efforts
Efforts begin with cloning of receptors for neurotrophic factors (e.g. Davis et al., 1991; Squinto et al., 1991; Glass et al., 1992) and lead to examples in which orphan receptors are used to identify their unknown growth factor partners (Davis et al., 1994; Stitt et al., 1995; Davis et al., 1996; Glass et al., 1996; Maisonpierre et al., 1997; Shrivastava et al., 1997; Valenzuela et al., 1999). Neil Stahl, Aris Economides, Yancopoulos and their colleagues take the lessons they learn from these efforts to begin to devise the Traps approach that leads to the IL-1 Trap and the VEGF Trap.
Regeneron goes public on the Nasdaq Stock Market
On the heels of the Amgen collaboration and riding a wave of interest in biotechnology companies, Regeneron stock begins trading under the symbol REGN. The IPO raises $91.6 million for Regeneron.
First Regeneron investigational drug, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), begins clinical development in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
Company acquires a manufacturing facility in Rensselaer, NY; second neurotrophic factor enters clinical development
Believing in the importance of developing in-house manufacturing capabilities, Regeneron acquires a facility near Albany, NY from a pharmaceutical company and retrofits it to make drug material for clinical trials.
P. Roy Vagelos, M.D., becomes Chairman of the Board
After the renowned Chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. retires, Len recruits him to be the chairman of the Regeneron board, a position Dr. Vagelos has held since that time. Dr. Vagelos, who previously had been the head of Merck's R&D, encouraged Regeneron to focus its research on disease settings where clinical benefit could be evaluated more quickly.
Company enters into a collaboration with Procter & Gamble, during which VEGF Trap efforts are initiated
Phase 3 trial in ALS with neurotrophic factor
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) does not achieve its primary endpoint; 2nd collaboration signed with Procter & Gamble
AXOKINE (CNTF) neurotrophic factor starts clinical development for treatment of obesity
ARCALYST® (rilonacept) (IL-1 Trap) begins clinical development
VEGF Trap begins clinical development in oncology
AXOKINE Phase 3 trial does not achieve its primary endpoint
Regeneron publishes the first paper on VelociGene®, introducing the world to its Veloci technologiesTo watch a video on Veloci technologies, click here.
The Company begins to lay groundwork for major changes in its technology foundation, as Yancopoulos, David Valenzuela and their team publish a featured article in Nature Biotechnology magazine (Valenzuela et al., 1990) on a new approach to high-throughput and mega-sized genetic engineering of the mouse genome. This so-called “VelociGene® ” technology is used to make the “VelocImmune® ” mouse, which is a mouse with a genetically humanized immune system that greatly improves the process of making fully human monoclonal antibodies