Leonard S. Schleifer, MD, PhD
September 22, 2020 — The UVA Medical Alumni Association is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Walter Reed Distinguished Achievement Award: Leonard S. Schleifer, MD ‘77, PhD ’80, founder and CEO of Regeneron, a leading biotechnology company delivering life-transforming medicines for serious diseases.
In 1988, Schleifer started Regeneron – the name is based on the concept of “regenerating neurons” – from a small apartment in New York City. He has served as the company’s president, chief executive officer and a director ever since, building Regeneron from a tiny startup into an organization with over 8,500 people, a $60+ billion market capitalization and a unique science-driven culture and reputation.
Schleifer earned his MD and PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Virginia. He is a licensed physician, certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and worked as a practicing neurologist before founding Regeneron. During his time leading the company, Schleifer has been recognized as one of Barron’s Best CEOs and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Regeneron’s ability to consistently translate science into medicine has led to seven FDA-approved treatments and over 20 investigational product candidates, all of which were discovered and developed in Regeneron’s own labs. These include EYLEA, which is used to treat certain blindness-causing retinal diseases and has been administered to more than 30 million people worldwide, and Dupixent, a major breakthrough for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, asthma and other serious inflammatory conditions. In 2019, a major trial of Regeneron’s Ebola triple-antibody therapy, REGN-EB3, showed that the treatment was effective in saving lives compared to the prior standard of care, and the medicine is now under review by the FDA. In 2020, Regeneron built on its Ebola experience to rapidly launch a major COVID-19 response effort. The company completed early discovery and testing in record time and is now running multiple late-stage clinical trials of its investigational antibody ‘cocktail’ designed to both treat and prevent COVID-19.
Schleifer has also been an ethical and outspoken business leader on corporate responsibility. Under his leadership, Regeneron has made a $125 million investment in fostering top scientific talent, taking over sponsorship of the Intel Science Talent Search and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Congratulations to Dr. Schleifer on his distinguished career and on this well-deserved recognition.