Press Releases

Purchase Science Entrepreneurship Award Recipients Announced

Date Released: 3/9/2011

President Schwarz announced the selection of two scientists from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Andrew Murphy & Dr. David M. Valenzuela as this year's winners. Details.

 Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz announced the selection of two scientists from Regeneron Pharmaceutical of Tarrytown, NY, Dr. Andrew Murphy and Dr. David M. Valenzuela as recipients of this year’s Purchase College Science Entrepreneurship Award.


Regeneron, an integrated biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions.


“It’s an honor to recognize these scientists,” said President Schwarz.  “At Purchase we educate scientists and leaders for the future. These two men are an inspiration to our students as well as the Westchester business community. Their scientific breakthroughs in both VelociGene ® and VelocImmune ® technologies  have changed an entire scientific field and have helped transform Regeneron from a small struggling biotech company into one of the fastest growing companies in New York State.”


According to Dr. George Yancopoulos, Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and President of Regeneron Research Laboratories, “the technologies developed by these two men are the cornerstone of the company’s product development programs and have already generated billions in research, licensing, and collaboration revenues.  They have already been used to create targeted antibody drugs that are being assessed for the treatment of pain, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, high cholesterol, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic conditions.”


“The vision and innovation of Dr. Murphy and Dr. Valenzuela are hallmarks of the science programs at Purchase College where we train scientists who go on to earn Ph.Ds in fields such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, computer science and environmental studies,” continued  President Schwarz. “Our faculty of active research scientists are trained at leading universities and provide an exceptional education for our students in the liberal arts and sciences. These two award recipients are outstanding role models for students from Purchase who will one day also contribute to the scientific and business community.”


The nominees were evaluated and selected by a panel of Purchase College faculty based on their scientific excellence, ability to integrate science with business, their vision and innovation, social responsibility and their positive role model for future generations.


Dr. David Valenzuela’s critical contribution involved the development of new state-of-the art genetic engineering approaches to maximize use of the mouse as a model system for studying human genes and diseases.  He led a team that created VelociGene ® a more efficient way to manipulate the mouse genome.


He is a molecular biologist with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. He was a Post Doctoral scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.  He has 13 patents, has published 75 articles in scientific journals and has written three chapters in books. He is presently Vice President, Functional Genomics and Chief, Velocigene Operations and is responsible for the generation of genetically modified mice in support of Regeneron’s drug development programs.  Dr. Valenzuela is also Principal Investigator, NIH Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP).


Dr. Andrew (Drew) Murphy, a molecular biologist with a PhD from Columbia University’s Department of Human Genetics and Development, was an early contributor to the development of VelociGene technology.  He led the team that developed  the Veloclmmune mouse, a genetically humanized mouse that can be used to efficiently produce fully human antibodies that can be developed as therapeutics for the treatment of human diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, high cholesterol, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic conditions.  Dr. Murphy became Vice President of Target Discovery in 2002 and is currently responsible for four of Regeneron’s seven Theraputic Focus areas as well as five of the company’s Technology Centers.  He serves on the Joint Research Committee for the large Antibody Collaboration between Regeneron and Sanofi-Aventis.


In addition to Regeneron’s corporate headquarters and research laboratories in Tarrytown, NY, the company has a large scale biologics manufacturing facility in Rensselaer, NY where it produces investigational products for its clinical trials, and a satellite office in Bridgewater, NJ.


The award will be presented at the Westchester County Association’s Annual Report from Washington Breakfast on May 16, 8-10 AM at the Westchester Country Club, 52 Biltmore Avenue, Rye, NY.  Call 914-948-6444.