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.
Michael H. Arenberg was appointed Chief Financial Officer effective October 2018. Mr. Arenberg has been with DURECT since 1999, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Corporate and Business Development, where he negotiated and closed over 50 collaborations, including several important in-licensing transactions. Mr. Arenberg earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, his law degree from the University of Denver, and his MBA from the Leavy School of Business at Santa Clara University.
Norman L. Sussman, M.D., FAASLD, joined DURECT as Chief Medical Officer in November 2020. He has extensive clinical experience and expertise in the field of liver disease and brings over 30 years of clinical research and development experience in academia and industry. Prior to joining DURECT he was an Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and a faculty member of Baylor College of Medicine intermittently since 1985. During that time, he served as a Principal Investigator for research focused on the assessment and management of acute liver failure and artificial liver support. Dr. Sussman gained leadership experience in industry as the founder and Vice President of both Amphioxus Cell Technologies from 1995 to 2003 and Hepatix, Inc from 1993 to 1995. Most recently, he has also served in senior leadership roles as a member of the Baylor Faculty Senate and as Director of the telehealth program, Project ECHO®, at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Dr. Sussman received his MBBCh from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He then completed his residency at St. Louis University Hospital and his post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Transplant Hepatology. Dr. Sussman is also a Fellow of the American Association of the Study of Liver Disease, which is a designation that recognizes his superior level of professional achievement in the field of hepatology.
Judy Joice, Senior Vice President, Operations and Corporate Quality Assurance, joined DURECT in 2007 and has over 25 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry with such companies as Nektar Therapeutics, Oread and Syntex Research. During her career, Ms. Joice has gained broad experience in developing, implementing and managing all aspects of company-wide quality systems and compliance functions, ranging from drug development through commercial manufacturing. Ms. Joice has a B.S. in Chemistry from California State University.
WeiQi Lin, M.D., Ph.D. joined DURECT in 2008 and is Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Principal Scientist. Dr. Lin began her career at ALZA, where she worked for 10 years, developing an extensive knowledge of drug delivery systems which has proven invaluable to her role at DURECT. While at ALZA, she was a member of a team which was responsible for product pipeline selection and evaluation. After ALZA and prior to joining DURECT, she was a co-founder of a company and acted as a consultant. As a result, she has over 17 years of experience in industry. After graduation, she worked as a lecturer for 4 years at both Shanghai Medical University and Beijing Medical University. She received her M.D. from Shanghai Medical University, was a visiting scholar at the Medical College of Virginia and received her Ph.D. Pharm/Tox from the Medical College of Virginia.
Dr. Ellis joined DURECT in November 2011 and has over 45 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with companies such as Syntex, ALZA Corporation, Neurex Corporation, Elan Pharmaceuticals, ARYx Therapeutics and Relypsa. During his career, Dr. Ellis has been involved in 5 NDA submissions and approvals, and has extensive experience in clinical trial design, execution and reporting. Dr. Ellis has a B.S. in Chemistry from Colorado State University, a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco.
John W. Gibson, M.S., Vice President, Birmingham Operations and Principal Scientist, has over 30 years of pharmaceutical product development experience involving biodegradable excipients and injectable, long-acting formulations. Mr. Gibson joined DURECT in 2001 as Executive Director of Product Development and assumed management responsiblity for DURECT’s Birmingham operations in 2005. Prior to joining DURECT, from 1974 through 2000, Mr. Gibson held a variety of technical and management positions with Southern Biosystems, Eastman Chemical Company, Eli Lilly and Company, and Southern Research Institute. Mr. Gibson received his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has numerous scientific publications and is the inventor of several U.S. and foreign patents.
Steve Helmer joined DURECT in 2010 and is Vice President, Chief Patent Counsel. Mr. Helmer has over 17 years of experience as a patent attorney. After law school, he worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for 2 years, and then was a patent attorney at various law firms for the next 8 years. At that point, Steve switched over to the corporate side as patent counsel for Nektar Therapeutics for 5 years, followed by one year at Life Technologies prior to joining DURECT. Steve received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School (cum laude) and received an M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University (magna cum laude).
Jian Li has served as our Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller since December 2003.
Previously, Ms. Li served as our Corporate Controller from April 2001 to December 2003, Assistant Controller from December 2000 to April 2001 and our Accounting Manager from March 2000 to December 2000. Prior to joining DURECT, she held various positions at Elan Pharmaceuticals in California and GTE Hawaiian Telephone in Honolulu, Hawaii in the roles of Financial Analyst, Accountant and Marketing Analyst. Ms. Li holds an M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Dr. Miksztal has over 24 years of pharmaceutical product development experience. He joined DURECT in March 2000 as Senior Director of Pharmaceutical Development, and in October 2000 was promoted to Executive Director. Prior to joining DURECT, Dr. Miksztal was the Associate Director of the Pharmaceutical Analysis Department at Oread Laboratories from 1996 to 2000, a Senior Scientist in Pharmaceutical Research at Roche Bioscience from 1995 to 1996, and a Scientist in the Preformulation and Pharmaceutical Analysis Departments at Syntex Research from 1987 to 1995. Dr. Miksztal earned his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Rutgers University, and completed an NIH postdoctoral research fellowship in the Chemistry Department at the University of California, San Diego. He has numerous scientific publications and is the inventor of several U.S. and foreign patents.
Dr. Yum joined DURECT in 1999. Since then, he has continuously been involved in the application of several of DURECT's platform technologies such as DUROS, SABER and DURIN. Su IL's significant contributions have played a huge role in the development of various parenteral and oral drug delivery systems that are based on these DURECT technologies.
Prior to joining DURECT, Dr. Yum served as Senior Technical Advisor at Amira Medical in Scotts Valley, California, where he participated in the development of a pain-free blood glucose detector called AtLast.
Prior to joining Amira, he held a number of senior positions in project management and engineering at ALZA Corporation. His contributions at ALZA include the development of a number of ALZA's enabling technologies and commercial products, most notably transdermal patch products such as, Nicoderm nicotin and Duragesic fentanyl systems. Other products include; Travenol Infusor, which ALZA licensed to Baxter, and ALZET osmotic pumps, used for experimental research in laboratory animals. His fundamental insight into mass transport phenomena and product design were instrumental to his success in exploratory research, and development activities at ALZA.
Dr. Yum earned his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and completed post-doctoral research in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. He has more than 40 scientific publications and is the holder of more than 60 U.S. and foreign patents. Dr. Yum is a Fellow of the AAPS.
Keith joined DURECT in May 2020 and brings over 18 years of biopharma experience in roles spanning global and US strategy and marketing, market access and operations, sales, business development and analytics, PR/IR and patient advocacy. Over his career, Keith has become an expert at helping clinical stage companies transition to full commercialization. He has made significant contributions to the strategic planning and launches of new medicines including Imbruvica and Zelboraf, and new indication launches for therapies such as Avastin and Rituxan. Previously, Keith helped build the US corporate infrastructure, commercial function and launch strategy at Oncopeptides. Prior to that, he led early commercial strategy and launch readiness efforts at Prothena and Versartis, and led the launch of Imbruvica at Pharmacyclics. Keith also worked in multiple oncology marketing roles at Genentech and held roles in pharmaceutical sales and genomics research. He earned a BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA, with distinction, from Vanderbilt University.