Regeneron Continues To Grow In New York

$150 million in investment is expected to create 300 jobs for the Tarrytown pharmaceutical company.

Despite the steady, cold drizzle that fell on the outdoor tent set up for the occasion, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals executives and employees were in a positively sunny mood last Thursday as they celebrated the formal opening of their newly expanded campus in Tarrytown. So too, were Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, both early supporters of Regeneron, who were on hand to congratulate the company.

And with good reason—the firm has come a long way since its founding in 1988 “by a couple of guys from Queens,” as Founder, President, and CEO Leonard Schleifer, MD, PhD, joked, to its position today as what George D. Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, Founding Scientist, President of Regeneron Laboratories and Chief Scientific Officer, called “one of the great science-driven companies of this decade.”

Gov. Cuomo spoke warmly of his family’s connection to and support of Regeneron, which began when his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo, approved a $250,000 innovation grant to the fledgling biotech firm in the late 1980s. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also touted the support of Regeneron by Empire State Development, New York’s chief economic development agency, which supported the campus’ completed expansion with up to $10.2 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. He touted these commitments as an example of the importance of government support for entrepreneurship, and joked, “I take full credit for every job [at Regeneron]. Regeneron would not exist without the Cuomos.”

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Throughout its 25-plus-year journey, the company’s mission has remained the same, Schleifer emphasized, explaining that, “ We all work for the patients; they are our first and last reason for our existence.” (Two of those patients delivered speeches at the event, sharing their stories of how Regeneron’s drugs for eczema and familial hypercholesterolemia changed their lives.)

Today, Regeneron has an expanded, state-of-the-art space in which to do all that work for its patients: the company’s facilities at the Landmark at Eastview Campus now total more than 1 million square feet of commercial space. The two new buildings the company dedicated last week add nearly 300,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, enabling Regeneron’s continued hiring in New York State. (The company hired more than 1,200 new employees in 2015, including approximately 950 in New York; it now employs more than 4,000 people worldwide.) And, as announced on Thursday, Regeneron will invest $150 million to expand its property at the Landmark at Eastview, leading to the creation of at least 300 jobs.

To encourage informal meetings, communal gathering spaces populate Regeneron’s new buildings—and are also a place to show off artwork by locals artists (secured through Regeneron’s partnership with ArtsWestchester), like this “First Light” photo by Rye-based photographer Stefan Radtke.

The new buildings include dedicated lab space and office space, and serve as the site of the new Regeneron Genetics Center, where the company is sequencing genomes to help define disease targets and improve the drug-development process. The expansion also includes the company’s first solar array (on the roof of a parking structure), plus various touches throughout which highlight the company’s desire to to foster a congenial, collaborative, and creative environment despite its ever-expanding size: communal spaces for informal meetings, a coffee bar to be manned by baristas, a 3D timeline of the company’s history (complete with a Hawaiian shirt to symbolize the company’s annual Hawaiian Shirt Day parties) and, through its partnership with ArtsWestchester, artwork by local artists displayed in various lobby areas.

The company’s combination of a light take and a serious mission was also in evidence during CEO Schleifer’s discussion of some of the pressing issues facing the firm today. He chided the media for always raising questions about skyrocketing drug prices by noting the risk and high costs inherent in drug discovery, and joking about the company’s long road to profitability. “It took us 25 years to break even on a true ledger—not a great story, but at least one that has a happy ending,” he said, adding that drug development is “not for the faint of heart; a couple of guys from Brooklyn couldn’t have done this.” Schleifer also spoke out about the bad rep that pharmaceutical companies get, admitting that “people in our industry have done some crappy things…and we should drum them out [of the industry].” But, he held steadfast about the importance of science in the US and its role in business, praising Rep Nita Lowey for continuing to pushing for NIH funding, and sharing his belief that “New York is heading in the direction of being one of the most business-friendly states in the US.”

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Check out video of the press conference below:

 

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