Board of Directors
David R. Hoffmann was appointed Chairman of the Board effective December 31, 2018. He has served as a Director since December 2002 and as Lead Independent Director since December 2010. Mr. Hoffmann is retired from ALZA Corporation (now a Johnson & Johnson company) where he held the position of Vice President and Treasurer from 1992 to until his retirement in October 2002, Vice President of Finance from 1982 to 1992 and Director of Accounting/Finance from 1976 to 1982. Mr. Hoffmann is currently Chief Executive Officer of Hoffmann Associates, a multi-group company specializing in cruise travel and financial and benefit consulting, and a consultant of ALZA Corporation. Mr. Hoffmann holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Colorado. Mr. Hoffmann is currently a director and chairman of the Audit Committee of Threshold Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company.
James E. Brown, D.V.M. co-founded DURECT in February 1998 and has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director since June 1998.
He previously worked at ALZA Corporation as Vice President of Biopharmaceutical and Implant Research and Development from June 1995 to June 1998. Prior to that, Dr. Brown held various positions at Syntex Corporation, a pharmaceutical company, including Director of Business Development from May 1994 to May 1995, Director of Joint Ventures for Discovery Research from April 1992 to May 1995, and held a number of positions including Program Director for Syntex Research and Development from October 1985 to March 1992.
Dr. Brown holds a B.A. from San Jose State University and a D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from the University of California, Davis where he also conducted post-graduate work in pharmacology and toxicology.
Simon X. Benito has served as a director since April 2005. Mr. Benito is currently a director and chairman of the Audit Committee of Inovio Biomedical Corporation, a medical device company. From 1974 to 1999, Mr. Benito held various positions at Merck & Co Inc. including Senior Vice President, Vaccine Division from 1996 to 1999, Executive Vice President, Merck-Medco Managed Care from 1994 to 1996 and Executive Director and Vice President, Merck Human Health, Japan from 1986-1993. Mr. Benito was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1969 to 1999 until his retirement from Merck.
Terrence F. Blaschke, M.D. has served as a director since December 2006. Mr. Blaschke has served on the faculty of Stanford University since 1974 and is Professor of Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology (Active Emeritus) at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Mr. Blaschke held the position of Vice President of Methodology and Science at Pharsight Corporation from 2000 to 2002. During the course of his career, Mr. Blaschke has served as an independent consultant working with a number of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Mr. Blaschke was formerly a Board member of Therapeutic Discovery Corporation and Crescendo Pharmaceuticals, two publicly-traded companies. He has also worked as a special government employee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has served as the chairman of the FDA's Generic Drugs Advisory Committee.
Gail M. Farfel, Ph.D. has served as a director since April 2019. Dr. Farfel has served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Zogenix, Inc. since July 2015, where she oversees Nonclinical and Clinical development, Regulatory Affairs, and Quality. Before joining Zogenix, Dr. Farfel was Chief Clinical and Regulatory Officer of Marinus Pharmaceuticals, a biopharma engaged in development for neurological disorders. Prior to her entry into the biotech space, Dr. Farfel served as Vice President and Therapeutic Area Head for Neuroscience at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where she oversaw their portfolio of neurology and psychiatry products. Dr. Farfel began her career in pharmaceutical drug development at Pfizer Inc., where she worked in Clinical Development and Global Medical Affairs, directing programs through all stages of clinical development and regulatory submissions. Dr. Farfel is the author of over 50 scientific articles in the areas of neuropsychopharmacology and drug effects and is a Director on the Board of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics.
Armand P. Neukermans, Ph.D. has served as a Director since March 2001. Dr. Neukermans founded Xros, Inc. in December 1996. Xros was acquired by and became a division of Nortel Networks in March 2000. Throughout and until June 2002, Dr. Neukermans has held the position of Chairman and Chief Technical Officer at Xros. In October 1993, Dr. Neukermans founded Adagio Associates, a consulting firm in the area of instrumentation, metrology and microfabrication and currently serves as its President. From 1992 to 1993, Dr. Neukermans was Vice President, Systems Development at Teknekron TSDC. Between 1985 and 1992, Dr. Neukermans held various positions at Tencor Instruments including Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. From 1973 to 1985, Dr. Neukermans held various positions at Hewlett Packard Company, HP Labs, including Department Manager. Dr. Neukermans holds an Engineer’s Degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from Louvain University, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University. Dr. Neukermans was named Silicon Valley Inventor of the Year in 2001.
Judith J. Robertson has served as a director since April 2019. As of December 2020, Ms. Robertson has served as the Chief Commercial Officer for Eleusis Ltd. Previously, Ms. Robertson was the Chief Commercial Officer of Aerie Pharmaceuticals from December 2016 to December 2018, during which time she built the commercial organization and led the successful commercial launch of Rhopressa® for glaucoma. Ms. Robertson joined Aerie from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, where she was the VP and Global Commercial Strategy Leader of Immunology, Ophthalmology and Commercial Analytics from June 2013 to November 2016. Part of her duties at Janssen included evaluating all external licensing and acquisition opportunities. Prior to Janssen, she was VP Global Business Franchise Head of Ophthalmology at Alcon, VP Global Franchise Head of Respiratory at Novartis, VP of Sales & Marketing of Respiratory and Dermatology at Novartis, and President of Bristol Myers Squibb Canada.
Jon S. Saxe has served as a Director since September 2003. Mr. Saxe is currently a director of a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including SciClone, VistaGen and several private companies.
From January 1995 to May 1999, Mr. Saxe was President of Protein Design Labs, a leading company in the development of humanized antibodies. During 1999, he was an Executive-in-Residence at Institutional Venture Partners, a venture capital firm. Mr. Saxe was President of Saxe Associates, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical consulting firm, from May 1993 to December 1994. He served as President, Chief Executive Officer and as a Director of Synergen, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company acquired by Amgen, from October 1989 to April 1993. From August 1984 through September 1989, Mr. Saxe was Vice President, Licensing and Corporate Development at Hoffmann-LaRoche and also head of the patent law department and Associate General Counsel at the company from September 1978 through September 1989. Mr. Saxe received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, a J.D. from George Washington University School of Law and an LL.M. from New York University School of Law.
Gail J. Maderis, M.B.A. has served as President and CEO of Antiva Biosciences, a venture funded biopharma company developing topical therapies to treat the pre-cancerous lesions caused by HPV, since 2015. From 2009 to 2015, Gail led BayBio, the industry organization representing and supporting Northern California’s life science community. From 2003 to 2009, Gail served as President and CEO of Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., a protein discovery and development company. Prior to FivePrime, Gail held senior executive positions at Genzyme Corporation, including founder and president of Genzyme Molecular Oncology. Gail also practiced management and strategy consulting with Bain & Co. She serves on the corporate boards of Allarity Therapeutics and Valitor, Inc., as well as on the non-profit boards of BIO (Emerging Company and Health Sections), CLSI, The Termeer Foundation and the University of California Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees. She received a BS in business from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mohammad Azab, M.D., M Sc., M.B.A. served as President and Chief Medical Officer of Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2014 after holding the position of Chief Medical Officer there since 2009. As of November 2020, upon retirement from his management role, Dr. Azab has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, focused on the discovery and development of drugs in oncology and other therapeutic areas. Previously, Dr. Azab served as President and CEO of Intradigm Corporation, a developer of siRNA cancer therapeutics. Prior to this, Dr. Azab served as Executive Vice President of Research and Development, and Chief Medical Officer of QLT Inc., and in several drug development leadership positions at Astra Zeneca in the United Kingdom and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals in France. During his carrier he has led or has been involved with the development of 8 approved drugs, 7 in Oncology and one in Ophthalmology. Dr. Azab holds his medical degree (MB ChB) from Cairo University and an M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. He received post-graduate training and degrees in oncology research from the University of Paris-Sud and biostatistics from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. Dr. Azab has more than 30 years of experience in clinical research, global drug development, and business management and led the global development of several drugs currently approved in oncology and other therapeutic areas. Currently, he also serves on the board of directors of Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.