A celebrated scientist and entrepreneur, Dr. Levinson is revered for his visionary leadership and dedication to the development of effective therapeutics for cancer and other diseases. His research and development efforts while serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genentech led to the establishment of the company as a global leader in the discovery and development of targeted therapeutics.
Dr. Levinson’s early investigations into cancer involved the use of avian viruses to ascertain the molecular functions of cancer driver proteins such as src, ras, and HER2/neu (receptor tyrosine-protein kinase erbB-2), and to develop pharmacological mechanisms to block the activity of such oncogenic drivers. These studies led him to spearhead efforts to design monoclonal antibodies capable of blocking the function of tumorigenic proteins, efforts of which resulted in the development of the HER2/neu monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab. Trastuzumab represents one of the first targeted therapeutics ever manufactured and has since proven invaluable for the treatment of HER2/neu-positive breast cancer, as amplification and overexpression of HER2/neu is observed in nearly a third of all breast cancers.
In addition to trastuzumab, Dr. Levinson was essential in contributing to the development of various other targeted therapeutics including bevacizumab and ranibizumab (vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEG-A) monoclonal antibodies), both of which inhibit angiogenesis, respectively, and are widely used for the treatment of several malignancies including brain, breast, colon, kidney, and lung cancer, as well as age-related macular degeneration. He also contributed to the development of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, rituximab, effective in the treatment of hematologic cancers, and erlotinib, an EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitor approved for use in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. His most recent research efforts are aimed at building upon his past discoveries to better understand the underlying mechanisms of aging.
2014 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, National Science & Technology Medals Foundation, Washington, D.C.
2014 Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
2012 Double Helix Medal, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
2011 Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, American Association for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2011 Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Apple, Inc.
2010 Biotechnology Heritage Award, Chemical Heritage Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, D.C.
2010 Director’s Award, San Francisco Exploratorium, San Francisco, California
2009 Board of Directors, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2008 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2006 James Madison Medal, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
2006, 2009 Thirty Most Respected CEOs, Barron’s
2004-2009 Board of Directors, Google, LLC
2004-2007 Best CEO in America, Biotech Category, Institutional Investor
2004-2005 Best Manager of the Year, BusinessWeek
2000-2011 Board of Directors, Apple, Inc.
1999 Corporate Leadership Award in Science, Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, New York, New York
1999 Corporate Leadership Award, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Washington, D.C.