Medicine Man: Meet the man who could cure cancer

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TARRYTOWN -

One of the world's leading biomedical scientists opened his Tarrytown-based lab exclusively to News 12 for a tour of the place where breakthrough drugs are born and where cancer could be cured.

George Yancopoulos, Regeneron's president and chief scientific officer, is pharma's first billionaire.

Yancopoulos took News 12 on a tour of the lab where breakthrough drugs for blindness, asthma and high cholesterol were discovered. News 12 also saw the lab's bioreactors, where cells that make natural human antibodies are grown. Regeneron is also working on developing cancer drugs.

Unlike many Fortune 500 company presidents, Yancopoulos is more comfortable in the lab than in his office but spends long hours in both, thanks to a work ethic fine-tuned back at Bronx High School of Science.

Click here for an extended interview with George Yancopoulos.

Before Regeneron was a $40 billion company, Yancopoulos got a random call from future partner Leonard Schleifer back in 1989.

A few weeks later, at the age of 28, he traded his job as a college professor at Columbia University for a 10,000-square-foot lab space in Westchester.  He took a risk, just as his Greek immigrant parents did decades before.

"I think we really felt from day one that we were building something that might eventually make a difference," he says.

Yancopoulos is now raising four children of his own with his wife in Yorktown. He says a piece of his heart will always be in the Bronx, where his story began.

"My first memory of the Bronx High School of Science was being intimidated by how smart the other kids were," he says.

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