Jean E. Rivier, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Founder, President

Professors Vale, C. Rivier, J. Rivier and Dr. J. Spiess reported the structure of ovine CRF, a 50 year long historical challenge which led to the unraveling of a larger family of CRF-related peptides called the urocortins. Professor J. Rivier and colleagues showed that CRF and related peptides are responsible for many of the body’s reactions to stress, including disabling the immune system in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Professor J. Rivier was the Dr. Frederik Paulsen Chair in Neurosciences Professor at the Salk Institute (h index 134). He is co-author of >700 refereed papers and co-inventor of >120 patents. He co-founded the Ferring Research Institute, Inc. in La Jolla where he co-discovered Degarelix/Firmagon (US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] and European Medicines Agency [EMA] approved for prostate cancer) and recently, a somatostatin receptor 2 (sstr2) selective antagonist (JR11) is also being clinically evaluated.

Read interview with Jean on Inside Salk

 

Dominic P. Behan, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Behan isolated corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) binding protein (CRF-BP) during his Ph.D. studies (supervisor Prof. Phil Lowry). He then spent three years as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Prof. Vale’s laboratory (Salk Institute, La Jolla, California). Dr. Behan has 24 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has been involved in drug discovery and clinical development through to approval and commercialization. His industrial career began at Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. and he later co-founded Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer and was elected to the Board of Directors. Dr. Behan was responsible for leading the US FDA advisory panel process that resulted in BELVIQ being the first drug approved by the FDA for obesity in 13 years. In 2016, Dr. Behan co-founded Beacon Discovery. Dr. Behan was included in the PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most inspiring people. He received a higher doctorate (D.Sc.) degree from the University of Reading where he was appointed Visiting Professor. Dr. Behan also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Keystone, a world renowned organization that arranges scientific conferences of excellence.

*While at the Salk Institute Dominic and Jean perfected their skills in peptide/protein purification and characterization leading to the isolation and characterization of several CRFs by Jean and CRF-BP by Dominic. By the mid-nineties Dominic applied his entrepreneurial instinct in drug discovery and development while Jean concentrated his efforts in the design and optimization of peptide drug candidates. It is not fortuitous that they have now turned to the translation of their early discoveries into potential therapeutics for patients with Jean providing the drug candidates and Dominic facilitating the torturous process of discovery, development and commercialization.