The discovery of vascular endothelial-derived growth factor (VEGF) has revolutionized our understanding of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis during development and physiological homeostasis. Over a short span of two decades, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which VEGF coordinates neurovascular homeostasis has become more sophisticated. The central role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of diverse cancers and blinding eye diseases has also become evident. Elucidation of the molecular regulation of VEGF and the transformative development of multiple therapeutic pathways targeting VEGF directly or indirectly is a powerful case study of how fundamental research can guide innovation and translation. It is also an elegant example of how agnostic discovery and can transform our understanding of human disease. This review will highlight critical nodal points in VEGF biology, including recent developments in immunotherapy for cancer and multitarget approaches in neovascular eye disease. Since it discovery two decades ago, VEGF has emerged as an important modulator of vascular biology, with therapeutics targeting VEGF signaling being central to the treatment of cancer and eye disease.