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Meet the Queens-bred billionaires behind COVID-19 drugmaker Regeneron

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The biotech company President Trump credited with helping him fend off the coronavirus is run by two Queens-bred billionaires who still have roots in New York.

Regeneron — the Westchester-based firm behind the experimental antibody cocktail Trump received while battling COVID-19 — is helmed by CEO Leonard Schleifer and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos, who have built the company into one of the nation’s leading biotech outfits.

Schleifer and Yancopoulos grew up near each other in Queens but never met in their youth, according to a 2013 Forbes profile of the pair. Schleifer, 68, was bred in Rego Park, where he ran his own snow-shoveling business, CNN reports, while Yancopoulous, 61, was reportedly raised by his Greek immigrant father in Woodside.

Schleifer, then an assistant neurology professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, founded Regeneron in 1988 and the following year he recruited Yancopoulos, a Bronx High School of Science graduate who was a rising star as a young Columbia professor, according to reports.

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The two reportedly met at an Italian restaurant in Westchester where they were joined by Yancopoulos’s dad.



“His father wanted to interview me, rather than me convincing George,” Schleifer recalled to Forbes.

George Yancopoulos
George YancopoulosREUTERS

The company they built in the years that followed has developed seven FDA-approved treatments as well as its experimental coronavirus drug, which has shown signs of helping people shake off the potentially deadly virus.

Regeneron announced Oct. 7 that it has sought an emergency use authorization for the treatment, which would make it more widely available

to COVID-19 patients.

The two men, who both live in Westchester, have built substantial fortunes along the way. Schleifer, who owns almost 4 percent of Regeneron’s common stock, is worth $2.4 billion, while Yancopoulos is worth $1.3 billion and owns about 2 percent of the company’s shares, according to Forbes.

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