10 Things You Didn’t Know About Leonard Schleifer

Leonard Schleifer is a renowned personality within the circle of biotechnology, having co-founded Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a company that has created numerous breakthrough drugs and has thrived in the industry for over three decades. But apart from this substantial achievement, there are many things about Schleifer that remain relatively unknown and unexplored. Thus, we bring you ten things you didn’t know about Leonard Schleifer.

1. His Formative Years

Leonard Schleifer was born to Jewish immigrants in Queens, New York City. His parents were not notably affluent; his mother worked as a secretary, while his father, a plumber, also dabbled in small-time property management. Yet, his humble beginnings never hindered him from striving for higher ambitions.

As a child, he demonstrated a remarkable knack for mathematics and science. Such interest in the sciences would later shape his career path and contributes greatly to his success in the biotech industry.

2. His Academic Background

Interestingly, Schleifer initially started his college years studying physics, registering at Cornell University. But eventually, his interest in biomedical sciences took over. He transferred to the University of Virginia, where he earned his M.D. Furthermore, he completed his Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Virginia.

Despite switching fields, he found an interesting marriage between his first love, physics, and his career in biotech, using the principles of both to drive his company.

3. Start of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Regeneron came to being in a dingy basement in Manhattan. Established in 1988, the co-founders George Yancopoulos, a scientific genius, and Leonard Schleifer, focused on harnessing the power of science and genetics to deliver unique and potent medicines to patients in need. However, the path to success wasn’t as smooth as it might seem.

Regeneron experienced years of failures and losses before reaching its current standing in the industry. It was only when the duo shifted their focus to the development of monoclonal antibody drugs that the company’s future changed for the better.

4. His Leadership Strategy

Schleifer’s strategy is rooted in the belief that the best decisions are made based on the facts, not opinions. This commitment to science and data-driven decisions has been the driving force behind Regeneron’s success. Speculation and guesswork have no place in their aggressive pursuit of innovative solutions.

Furthermore, Schleifer’s approach to leadership is one that encourages his team’s creativity and openness, fostering a work environment that harnesses the collective brainpower and expertise of all his staff.

5. His Philanthropy

Schleifer is not only a thriving entrepreneur but also a philanthropist. He and his wife Harriet have been generous donors in the health and education sectors through various charitable organizations. They have established scholarships to support students in need, particularly those pursuing careers in science and medicine.

Moreover, they have devoted their financial resources to improving access to education and healthcare services, with an emphasis on underprivileged communities and marginalized populations.

6. His Recognition

Due to his immense efforts and groundbreaking contributions, Leonard Schleifer has been honored with various awards and recognition. In 2016, Forbes and Fortune labeled him as one of the world’s best-performing CEOs. He also made it to the list of “Top 100 CEO Leaders in STEM” by STEMconnector.

Beyond these acknowledgments, the real proof of his achievements is the success of Regeneron itself, a constant testament to Schleifer’s vision, tenacity, and leadership.

7. His Take on the Drug Pricing Debate

Schleifer has been very vocal about the state of drug pricing in the pharmaceutical industry. He strongly believes that companies should price their drugs responsibly considering the patients’ affordability. Furthermore, he criticizes the tendency of some companies to exploit the system for monetary gains at the expense of patients.

His viewpoint was clearly reflected in how Regeneron has priced its drugs, a balance between compensating for the research and development costs and maintaining affordability for patients.

8. His Persistence

In the face of numerous obstacles and challenges, Schleifer’s persistence has continuously shone through. When Regeneron’s first four drug candidates failed, many would have given up, but not Schleifer. He was not afraid to take risks and push boundaries, driven by his commitment to science and his ambition to change patients’ lives.

This trait was also displayed during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, where under his leadership, Regeneron swiftly developed an antibody cocktail against the virus. His determination to offer a solution despite the uncertainties is a true reflection of his persistent character.

9. His Personal Life

Beyond his professional life, Schleifer is a dedicated family man. He is married to Harriet Schleifer, a renowned attorney. They have two children. Their son Adam Schleifer, inspired by his father’s dedication to public service, ventured into a political career.

Despite being a sought-after CEO in the pharmaceutical industry, Schleifer still manages to maintain a balance between his work and personal life, an important reminder for us all.

10. His Inspirational Remark

One notable quote from Schleifer underpins his view on career and life: “The key to success is to stay focused and be persistent. If you’re passionate about what you do, and if you pour your energy into achieving your goals, then everything else will take care of itself.” This inspires everyone to persevere despite the odds, be it in the scientific turf or in daily life.

Indeed, the life and accomplishments of Leonard Schleifer embodies this axiom. And beyond his scientific contributions, Schleifer is a testament to the value of resilience, passion, and the power of persistent innovation.

For more about Leonard Schleifer and Regeneron, visit their website here. You can also follow Regeneron’s LinkedIn page here for the latest company news and updates.