A group of chief executive officers from leading biotechnology companies has presented Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Rockefeller’s president, with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his leadership in the bioscience community. The award was announced at a Boston Biotech Conference of executives held November 12 and 13 in New York; Tessier-Lavigne was selected by conference participants representing some of the most influential biotechnology companies internationally.
The annual recipient of the NY/NJ CEO Lifetime Achievement Award is nominated and elected by peers from within the biotechnology industry and it recognizes the extraordinary contributions of the awardees toward advancing medical science and products that address unmet medical needs, as well as in helping to create an environment that fosters the growth of the industry in the New York metropolitan area.
“Marc has contributed across the entire spectrum of these pursuits, as a leading scientist who has made seminal discoveries in the biology of the nervous system, as a biotechnology entrepreneur who co-founded Renovis Pharmaceuticals, and as chief scientific officer at one of the leading biotech companies, Genentech,” says Ron Cohen, president and chief executive officer of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., who co-presented the award with George Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Cohen and Yancopoulos are both previous winners of the NY/NJ CEO Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Marc has served as one of the most effective catalysts in the history of New York’s biotech industry for creating a more hospitable environment for the growth of the industry,” Cohen says. “He has encouraged cooperation among New York’s major medical research institutions, established effective collaborations and innovative programs involving them, venture capitalists and company and local government personnel. He has served as a focal point for developing programs to stimulate and grow biotech in New York.”
As president of Rockefeller, Tessier-Lavigne has worked with biotech industry leaders to accelerate the translation of basic research discoveries into new therapies for disease. He became the university’s tenth president in 2011. He is also Carson Family Professor and head of the Laboratory of Brain Development and Repair.
“I was attracted to Rockefeller by the remarkable research and unique culture that have long characterized our special institution. Upon arrival a few years ago, I was delighted also to discover the vibrant bioscience community that exists more broadly in New York, and to have the opportunity to join in advancing the vital and important work being done by all the players — academic and commercial — here,” says Tessier-Lavigne. “Receiving this award means a great deal to me, especially coming from a group of such incredibly accomplished leaders.”
“Marc’s return to New York City has led to his playing a major role in promoting collaboration and the biotech mindset across all the major institutions in the city,” says Yancopoulos. “He has one of the great scientific minds of our era, and I can think of no one more deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award.”