P. Roy Vagelos, MD
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P. Roy Vagelos, MD
Retired Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.
Chairman of the Board, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Roy Vagelos is Retired Chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  He received an AB in 1950 from the University of Pennsylvania and an MD in 1954 from Columbia University.  Following a residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1954-56), he joined the National Institutes of Health where from 1956-66 he served as Senior Surgeon and then Section Head of Comparative Biochemistry.  In 1966 he became Chairman, Department of Biological Chemistry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and in 1973 founded the University's Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.  In 1975 he joined Merck Research Laboratories and became President of Research until 1985, when he became CEO and later Chairman of the company.  He retired in 1994.

While head of Merck, Dr. Vagelos was the force behind Merck’s decision in 1987 to provide its drug, MECTIZAN, free for as long as necessary, to eliminate the devastating disease, river blindness.  He also supported the building on the National Institutes of Health campus the Children’s Inn that provides a home where children and their families can stay while being treated at the NIH.

Dr. Vagelos also directed the technology transfer to China for the manufacturing of the Merck recombinant vaccine that protects against infection by the hepatitis B virus.  Prior to introduction of the Merck vaccine, 9% of Chinese people were carriers of this virus putting them at high risk for chronic liver disease, liver cancer and death.  Merck contributed this technology to China without profit.

Dr. Vagelos is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.  He has received many awards in science and business as well as 14 honorary doctorates.  In the past, he was Chairman of the Board of the University of Pennsylvania and served on the boards of TRW, McDonnell Douglas, Prudential Finance, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, The Nature Conservancy and the National Math & Science Initiative.  He also served as Co-chairman of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and President and CEO of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Dr. Vagelos is Chairman of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Advisors, the Columbia University Precision Medicine Council, the Columbia University Climate Board of Advisors and is Co-Chairman of the Columbia University Campaign Executive Committee.  He is founder of three undergraduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania:  Molecular Life Science (MLS), Life Sciences and Management (LSM) and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER).  He serves on a number of public policy and advisory boards.

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