Yancopoulos is the holder of more than 100 patents. He is a principal inventor and developer of Regeneron's six FDA-approved medicines, as well as of Regeneron's foundational technologies for target and drug development, such as its proprietary TRAP technology, and the VelociGene and VelocImmune antibody technologies.
Early life and education
He spent his early childhood in Woodside, New York. As a student at the Bronx High School of Science, Yancopoulos was a top winner of the 1976 Westinghouse Science Talent Search. Intel and then Regeneron later assumed the title sponsorship for the Science Talent Search.
After graduating as valedictorian of both the Bronx High School of Science and Columbia College, Yancopoulos received his MD and PhD degrees in 1987 from Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons. He then worked in the field of molecular immunology at Columbia University with Dr. Fred Alt, for which he received the Lucille P. Markey Scholar Award.
Based on his scientific publications, he was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. According to a study by the Institute for Scientific Information, he was the eleventh most highly cited scientist in the world during the 1990s, and the only scientist from the biotechnology industry on the list.
Yancopoulos has cloned novel families of growth factors, including ephrins/Ephs and angiopoietins, and elucidated the basis of how many receptors work. His work has included study of how nerves regenerate and how muscles connect to nerves.
In 1985, along with his mentor Dr. Fred Alt, he was the first to propose making mouse models with genetically human immune systems ("Humab mice"). This research led to Yancopoulos developing "the most valuable mouse ever made," bred to have immune systems that respond just as a human's would, so that it can be used for testing how the human body might react to various pharmaceuticals and other substances.
Much of Yancopoulos and Alt's work in immunology including common recombination, accessibility control of recombination and scanning or tracking of recombinant action, has been recently validated.
Yancopoulos left academia in 1989 to become the founding scientist and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron with Founder and Chief Executive Officer Leonard Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D. In 2016, Yancopoulos was also named President of the company.
Yancopoulos plays an active role in Regeneron's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education commitments, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest high school science and math competition.
Boards and awards
Yancopoulos won a NY/NJ CEO Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Yancopoulos has been awarded Columbia University's Stevens Triennial Prize for Research and its University Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Achievement.
The George D. Yancopoulos Young Scientist Award is given at the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair.
He was inducted into the Bronx Science Hall of Fame in 2017.
- Yancopoulos GD, Alt FW (February 1985). "Developmentally controlled and tissue-specific expression of unrearranged VH gene segments". Cell. 40 (2): 271–81. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(85)90141-2. PMID 2578321.
- Yancopoulos GD, Blackwell TK, Suh H, Hood L, Alt FW (January 1986). "Introduced T cell receptor variable region gene segments recombine in pre-B cells: evidence that B and T cells use a common recombinase". Cell. 44 (2): 251–9. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(86)90759-2. PMID 3484682.
- Maisonpierre PC, Belluscio L, Squinto S, et al. (March 1990). "Neurotrophin-3: a neurotrophic factor related to NGF and BDNF". Science. 247 (4949 Pt 1): 1446–51. doi:10.1126/science.2321006. PMID 2321006.
- Boulton TG, Nye SH, Robbins DJ, et al. (May 1991). "ERKs: a family of protein-serine/threonine kinases that are activated and tyrosine phosphorylated in response to insulin and NGF". Cell. 65 (4): 663–75. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(91)90098-J. PMID 2032290.
- Glass DJ, Nye SH, Hantzopoulos P, et al. (July 1991). "TrkB mediates BDNF/NT-3-dependent survival and proliferation in fibroblasts lacking the low affinity NGF receptor". Cell. 66 (2): 405–13. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(91)90629-D. PMID 1649703.
- Davis S, Aldrich TH, Valenzuela DM, et al. (July 1991). "The receptor for ciliary neurotrophic factor". Science. 253 (5015): 59–63. doi:10.1126/science.1648265. PMID 1648265.
- Ip NY, Stitt TN, Tapley P, et al. (February 1993). "Similarities and differences in the way neurotrophins interact with the Trk receptors in neuronal and nonneuronal cells". Neuron. 10 (2): 137–49. doi:10.1016/0896-6273(93)90306-C. PMID 7679912.
- Davis S, Gale NW, Aldrich TH, et al. (November 1994). "Ligands for EPH-related receptor tyrosine kinases that require membrane attachment or clustering for activity". Science. 266 (5186): 816–9. doi:10.1126/science.7973638. PMID 7973638.
- DeChiara TM, Vejsada R, Poueymirou WT, et al. (October 1995). "Mice lacking the CNTF receptor, unlike mice lacking CNTF, exhibit profound motor neuron deficits at birth". Cell. 83 (2): 313–22. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90172-8. PMID 7585948.
- Economides AN, Ravetch JV, Yancopoulos GD, Stahl N (November 1995). "Designer cytokines: targeting actions to cells of choice". Science. 270 (5240): 1351–3. doi:10.1126/science.270.5240.1351. PMID 7481821.
- DeChiara TM, Bowen DC, Valenzuela DM, et al. (May 1996). "The receptor tyrosine kinase MuSK is required for neuromuscular junction formation in vivo". Cell. 85 (4): 501–12. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81251-9. PMID 8653786.
- Glass DJ, Bowen DC, Stitt TN, et al. (May 1996). "Agrin acts via a MuSK receptor complex". Cell. 85 (4): 513–23. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81252-0. PMID 8653787.
- Davis S, Aldrich TH, Jones PF, et al. (December 1996). "Isolation of angiopoietin-1, a ligand for the TIE2 receptor, by secretion-trap expression cloning". Cell. 87 (7): 1161–9. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81812-7. PMID 8980223.
- Shrivastava A, Radziejewski C, Campbell E, et al. (December 1997). "An orphan receptor tyrosine kinase family whose members serve as nonintegrin collagen receptors". Molecular Cell. 1 (1): 25–34. doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(00)80004-0. PMID 9659900.
- DeChiara TM, Kimble RB, Poueymirou WT, et al. (March 2000). "Ror2, encoding a receptor-like tyrosine kinase, is required for cartilage and growth plate development". Nature Genetics. 24 (3): 271–4. doi:10.1038/73488. PMID 10700181.
- Holash J, Davis S, Papadopoulos N, et al. (August 2002). "VEGF-Trap: a VEGF blocker with potent antitumor effects". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 99 (17): 11393–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.172398299. PMC 123267. PMID 12177445.
- Valenzuela DM, Murphy AJ, Frendewey D, et al. (June 2003). "High-throughput engineering of the mouse genome coupled with high-resolution expression analysis". Nature Biotechnology. 21 (6): 652–9. doi:10.1038/nbt822. PMID 12730667.
- Economides AN, Carpenter LR, Rudge JS, et al. (January 2003). "Cytokine traps: multi-component, high-affinity blockers of cytokine action". Nature Medicine. 9 (1): 47–52. doi:10.1038/nm811. PMID 12483208.
Yancopoulos has been confirmed to speak at the annual drug development festival Biotech Week Boston in September 2019. 
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