Regeneron Keeps Science at the Center
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Thirty years ago, neurologist Leonard S. Schliefer, MD, PhD, founded Regeneron, a life sciences company dedicated to discovering, developing and bringing new medications to the patients who need them.
From the start, the company has maintained a strict focus on science. “We were going to build a company where the administration, business people and management were working for the scientists, rather than the scientists working for them,” Schliefer said. That focus is reflected in the company’s structure and culture, and is one reason why life sciences professionals ranked Regeneron #17 overall – and #2 for Interesting and Meaningful Work -- in BioSpace’s 2017 Ideal Employer Report.
See the full list of BioSpace’s 2017 Top 20 Biotech Bay Life Sciences Employers
“We put extra energy, investment and attention on the research and discovery part of things. The rest of the business is there to support what the science professionals discover and create,” said Angi Calkins, Regeneron’s executive director of talent acquisition.
The company’s status as an Ideal Employer is no accident, Calkins said. “We try to really have open ears to how we can create an environment that people want to work in, whether that’s an extra toaster in a lunch break room or a different policy,” she said. “We want to be on best employers lists because we want that to be our reputation with our employees.”
Interesting & Meaningful Work
Regeneron has already created six FDA- approved medications, including Dupixent (dupilumab), a monoclonal antibody used to treat eczema, and Eylea (aflibercept), an injection used to treat age-related macular degeneration, macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. The company also has 15+ antibodies in clinical trials across multiple therapeutic areas.
“Immunotherapy is a huge focus right now. Allergic and inflammatory diseases is another one,” Calkins said. “We also have a couple of really interesting rare disease programs. We’ve had some really amazing preclinical discoveries for a rare disease called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive, which is also called stone man’s disease. We’re in a phase two clinical study in that program now.”
The Regeneron Genetics Center, officially launched in 2014, is now one of the world’s most comprehensive genetics databases, with paired sequenced exomes and de-identified health records of more than 180,000 people. Regeneron scientists and professionals use that information to identify new drug targets and indications – and hopefully help more people. “Everything we do is for the sake of patients around the world,” Calkins said.
Working at Regeneron
Nearly 7000 people currently work at Regeneron. The company has nearly doubled in size over the past three years, but still maintains a fun, family atmosphere.
“We’re just a bunch of fun, casual people wandering around in jeans and a sweatshirt, doing what we do and stopping in to chat in the hallway or have a laugh,” Calkins said. “We have multiple family picnics per year. We have kids-at-work day and science day and mentorship programs for employees’ high school students.”
That family dynamic is supported by the company’s hiring practices. “Each new person who enters the company is a really big deal to whichever team they’re joining,” Calkins said, so the company takes pains to make sure candidates are a good fit.
“We typically have more interviews than the average company, by at least double,” Calkins said. Candidates may interview with as many as six to 10 people, in a series of phone or video calls and on-site visits.
Approximately one-third of new hires come via employee referrals. Life sciences professionals can view (and apply for) current job opportunities online. “We are very diligent about managing our career portal. Nobody slips through the cracks; every single application is reviewed,” Calkins said.
Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for all jobs they’re interested in. “Don’t be afraid to apply for more than one job,” Calkins said. “It’s no problem to express interest in multiple positions, and then let us figure out where might be the best place for you to enter.”