North Carolina biotechnology company DARA BioSciences (NASDAQ:DARA) has named Dr. David Drutz the company’s new CEO.

Drutz had been named interim CEO of the Raleigh company earlier this month following the retirement of former Chairman and CEO Richard Franco. On Dec. 19, DARA’s board of directors approved the removal of “interim” from Drutz’s title, making him him president and CEO of the company.

Drutz has more than 25 years of experience in the life sciences industries and he has worked as CEO of three different life sciences companies, including Inspire Pharmaceuticals, the former Research Triangle company that was acquired earlier this year by Merck (NYSE:MRK).

DARA also named Steve Gorlin to its board of directors, where he takes over as chairman. Gorlin was one of DARA’s founders and had previously served on the company’s board of directors.

Gorlin, who is the chairman and CEO of Florida life sciences startup DemeRx, fills the DARA board vacancy that Franco’s retirement created. The appointments of Drutz and Gorlin separate the chairman and chief executive positions, both of which were previously held by Franco.

DARA has no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs. Two compounds are in clinical trials. KRN5500 is in phase 2 clinical trials as an experimental treatment for neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy. The compound has fast-track status from the FDA, and its clinical trials are being financed by the the National Cancer Institute. Another compound, DB959, being studied as a potential type 2 diabetes drug.

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