Dr. Schlessinger is the Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and the William Prusoff Professor at Yale School of Medicine and the Director of the Cancer Biology Institute of Yale University. Dr. Schlessinger is one of the world’s leading cellular biologists and cancer-treatment inventors. Before coming to Yale in 2001, Dr. Schlessinger invented treatments for various types of deadly cancers. In 1991, he co-founded Sugen, which developed the FDA approved drug Sutent to treat gastrointestinal and kidney cancers. Pfizer acquired Sugen in 1999 for $650 million.
In 2001 Dr. Schlessinger co-founded Plexxikon, which develops therapeutics to treat melanoma. In 2011, Plexxikon was acquired by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo for $805 million. In 2007, Dr. Schlessinger co-founded Kolltan Pharmaceuticals with Yale, and has secured $50 million in financing. Kolltan is developing monoclonal antibodies against various cancers that the company hopes to move rapidly into human clinical trials toward FDA approval. Dr. Schlessinger received his B.Sc., Magna Cum Laude, in chemistry and physics and his M.Sc., Magna Cum Laude, in chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Physics at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel in the field of biophysics.