ABOUT NAVIGENCreating a New Class of Drugs

  • Navigen is a drug discovery and development company developing an important new class of therapies to improve and save lives. The company was founded by a team of industry veterans with a history of successfully advancing novel therapeutics. Navigen is leveraging its unparalleled experience working with D-peptides to bring forward a range of promising development programs with the potential to address many critical areas of unmet medical need.


    Building on landmark discoveries made at leading medical research institutions including the University of Utah, we have developed a discovery platform that harnesses the full potential of D-peptides as drugs with superior targeting and specificity and with limited or no risk of antigenicity. Navigen has a suite of proprietary tools at its disposal to access more (larger) targets and to shorten the required time it takes to identify promising new drugs.


    Our lead products are targeting critical areas of unmet need including treatment and prevention of HIV and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We are also developing a D-peptide anti-TNF that we expect to have significant delivery and antigenicity advantages over current biologics.


    We will continue to build our internal pipeline and will also enter into collaborations to discover new D-peptides for targets of interest.


    We welcome inquiries related to partnering including R&D collaborations and licensing.


Our PeopleMeet the Navigen Team


  • Navigen Chief Executive Officer Brandi Simpson, MBA, Vice President of Research Alan Mueller, PhD, and Sr. Director of Pre-Clinical Development Daniel Wettstein, MD, PhD, have over 60 years of combined experience in bringing forward biomedical technologies in both private and public company settings.

Brandi Simpson, President and CEO

Navigen's Board of Directors elected Brandi to be Chief Executive Officer effective April 2014. She was Navigen's first official employee, and from 2007 until her promotion to CEO she served as Chief Business Officer of the company. Prior to joining Navigen, she held senior positions in business development, corporate strategy, and investor relations at NPS Pharmaceuticals, where she negotiated and closed multiple licensing transactions and led the company's portfolio review and strategic decision-making processes. In her last year at NPS, she also served as the head of investor relations.

Prior to joining NPS, Brandi was director of business development at Emergen, a Utah genetics start-up. She was also a life sciences management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she advised clients on a variety of business and strategic issues including mergers and acquisitions, post-merger integration and development of new business ventures. She began her career as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch, where she worked on multiple public debt and equity financing transactions, structured financings, and mergers and acquisitions.

Brandi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with an honors degree in Finance. She earned an MBA degree at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Alan Mueller, Vice President of Research

Alan is Vice President of Research at Navigen and has over 30 years of industry experience. Alan was a research scientist for five years in Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Abbott Laboratories in Abbott Park, Illinois. He then spent 19 years with NPS Pharmaceuticals as Vice President of Drug Discovery and later Vice President of Research and was also a member of the Executive Team and Operating Committee. He was responsible for all aspects of the Research Division, from early stage drug discovery through the completion of Phase 1 clinical trials. Most recently, Alan was Executive Director of Clinical Site Operations and a member of the Executive Team for Lifetree Clinical Research, where he was responsible for all aspects of the conduct of Phase I through Phase III clinical trials for investigation of new drugs.

Alan received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and received his doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Daniel Wettstein, Senior Director of Pre-Clinical Development

Prior to joining Navigen, Daniel spent several years at Myriad Genetics and Myriad Pharmaceuticals (Myrexis) in roles of increasing responsibility. For three years at Myriad Genetics (ProNet), Daniel led projects to identify drug targets for genetic diseases, implemented cell-based validation assays to support target identification, and helped establish Myriad Proteomics (Prolexys Pharmaceuticals). Daniel then spent eight years at Myriad Pharmaceuticals. He first served as Project Director for Cancer Target Identification and Validation, where he spearheaded the formation of a new chemical proteomics department to enable cell-based synthetic lethal screens using isogenic tumor cell lines. Daniel also oversaw preclinical in-licensing opportunities and managed the cancer biology portfolio. He next served as Program Director for Cancer Therapeutics, during which time he managed academic collaborations, supervised preclinical cancer drug development project work, and directed a multi-disciplinary drug development team which delivered two IND candidates. Following the dissolution of Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Daniel was Director of Preclinical Studies at MediProPharma, a company seeking to repurpose existing therapeutics for neurodegenerative indications. He also consulted for the Huntsman Cancer Institute (University of Utah) and was a science advisor in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology at Tekcapital.

Daniel received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his PhD in Immunology and MD from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratories at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.

Board of Directors

Hunter Jackson, Chairman of the Board

Hunter Jackson is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Navigen. He was a co-founder and served as Chairman and CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: NPSP) from 1986 to 2006. Three products were brought forward during Hunter's tenure at NPS. The first product, Sensipar®, was launched in 2004 for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism and hypercalcemia. It is marketed by Amgen in the U.S. and Europe and by Kyowa Hakko Kirin in Asia, and generated sales of over $1 billion in 2012. NPS's second product, Natpara®, an injectable synthetic hormone approved for treatment of hypoparathyroidism, is marketed by Shire. The company's third product, Gattex®, an injectable peptide for the treatment of short bowel syndrome, was launched worldwide in 2013. Under Hunter's leadership at NPS, the company entered into major agreements with Pfizer, FMC, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Kirin, Abbott, AstraZeneca, Allergan, and Nycomed. Additionally, the company raised approximately $900 million dollars through public and private financings.

Hunter was a member of the Governing Authority of the Utah Science, Technology, and Research Economic Development Initiative (USTAR) from 2006-2012 and received the 1998 Ernst & Young Utah Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2002 Utah Governor's Medal for Science and Technology.

Hunter has a BA in American Literature from the University of Illinois, a PhD in Psychobiology from Yale University and did his postdoctoral work in the Neurosurgery Department at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Brandi Simpson, President and CEO

Navigen's Board of Directors elected Brandi to be Chief Executive Officer effective April 2014. She was Navigen's first official employee, and from 2007 until her promotion to CEO she served as Chief Business Officer of the company. Prior to joining Navigen, she held senior positions in business development, corporate strategy, and investor relations at NPS Pharmaceuticals, where she negotiated and closed multiple licensing transactions and led the company's portfolio review and strategic decision-making processes. In her last year at NPS, she also served as the head of investor relations.

Prior to joining NPS, Brandi was director of business development at Emergen, a Utah genetics start-up. She was also a life sciences management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, where she advised clients on a variety of business and strategic issues including mergers and acquisitions, post-merger integration and development of new business ventures. She began her career as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch, where she worked on multiple public debt and equity financing transactions, structured financings, and mergers and acquisitions.

Brandi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with an honors degree in Finance. She earned an MBA degree at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Val Antczak, JD

Val R. Antczak is a lawyer with extensive legal and business experience. Mr. Antczak was the Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for all legal matters from 2005 to 2008. Mr. Antczak was a lawyer at Parsons Behle & Latimer from 1978 to 2005 where he had a successful corporate transaction and commercial litigation practice. He was also involved as a member of the Board of Directors and/or as Vice Chairman at Parsons Behle & Latimer for fifteen of those years.

Mr. Antczak has been and remains involved serving a number of educational and community organizations, including, among others, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, member of the Executive Committee of the Health Advocates, University of Utah Health Sciences Division and as a member of the Executive Committee of the University of Utah's Commercial Advisory Board.

Mr. Antczak received a BS in Finance from the University of Utah (magna cum laude) and a JD from the University of Utah College of Law.

David L. Clark, MS, MBA

Mr. Clark joined the faculty of Utah State University as the Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Programs in the Huntsman School of Business in October 2008.

From October 2005 to October 2008 he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical firm developing novel cancer therapies in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to Prolexys he was Vice President, Corporate Affairs at the publically traded firm, NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. From 1996 until 2005 Mr. Clark was involved in business development, funding transactions, investor relations and corporate communications for NPS. From 1988 to 1996, Mr. Clark held the office of Vice President at AgriDyne Technologies, Inc. (Salt Lake City) with responsibilities for business development and administration. Before AgriDyne he was responsible for financial analysis and assisted in property acquisitions and financing for Clark Financial Corporation (Salt Lake City), a private investment firm from 1983 to 1988. From 1980 to 1983, Mr. Clark worked in division management and financial analysis and control at UI Group in Kennewick, Washington.

He holds a B.S. in botany from Brigham Young University (1976), an MS in agronomy with an emphasis in plant genetics from the University of Illinois (1978), and an MBA from the University of Utah (1980). Mr. Clark is a founding trustee of the Utah Life Science Association and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Utah Technology Council.

Jeffrey A. Fink, MBA

Mr. Fink is currently the Managing Director of Gambel Oaks Advisors, LLC, a strategic and financial advisory firm dedicated to the life sciences and allied industries. Mr. Fink spent over twenty years in the investment banking industry advising life science clients in the U.S. and Europe on the full range of financing and strategic advisory assignments. He was Head of Healthcare Investment Banking for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Chicago until 2007, and prior to that was a Partner in the Healthcare Group at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (the successor firm to Wasserstein Perella) and Head of Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions for Vector Securities International, Inc., a dedicated biotechnology and life sciences investment bank.

Mr. Fink's advisory clients have included Schering AG, Genentech, Boehringer Ingleheim, F. Hoffman LaRoche, Ltd., the Ares Serono Group and Celgene Pharmaceuticals. His financing clients have included NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Celgene Pharmaceuticals, ISIS Pharmaceuticals and Sepracor. Overall, Mr. Fink has advised clients on over $3 billion in closed transactions, including more than thirty initial public offerings and follow on public offerings.

Mr. Fink is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Frank Karbe

Mr. Karbe currently serves on the boards of Arbutus Biopharma (NASDAQ: ABUS) as well as Kolltan Pharmaceuticals. Until June 14, Mr. Karbe was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Exelixis, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company. In 2009 Mr. Karbe was voted by Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine as one of 27 Emerging Leaders under the age of 45. Prior to joining Exelixis in 2004, Mr. Karbe worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs & Co., where he served most recently as Vice President in the healthcare group focusing on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1997, Mr. Karbe held various positions in the finance department of The Royal Dutch/Shell Group in Europe.

Mr. Karbe holds a Diplom-Kaufmann from the WHU—Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management, Koblenz, Germany.

Thomas N. Parks, PhD

After training in neuroscience at the University of California, Yale University and the University of Virginia, in 1978 Dr. Parks joined the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he is now Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy. He served as the George & Lorna Winder Professor of Neuroscience and chair of his department from 1992-2007 and as the Vice President for Research and President of the Research Foundation for the University of Utah from 2008-2016. He was a co-founder of NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a board member from 1986-2006; the company developed three first-in-class drugs and was acquired in 2015 by Shire Plc. Dr. Parks is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and a recipient of the Utah Governor's Medal for Science & Technology.

Calvin Stiller, MD

Dr. Calvin Stiller is a lifelong innovator whose work encompasses science, business and public service. As a scientist, Dr. Stiller was principal investigator on the Canadian multi-centre study that established the effectiveness of cyclosporin in transplantation, which led to its worldwide use as first-line therapy for transplant rejection. He was the first to demonstrate that Type I Diabetes could be altered by an immunosuppressive agent confirming that it was an autoimmune disease. He has published over 250 scientific and medical papers, and has co-edited five books. In 1985 Dr. Stiller established the Multi-Organ Transplant Service in London, arguably one of the first in the world and served as its chief for over a decade. He has been president of the Canadian Society of Nephrology and co-founded the MaRS center, the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, which he currently chairs. He has been awarded the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine and is a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Dr. Stiller is also an entrepreneur and businessperson. He founded two firms that eventually employed 4,000 people in healthcare and technology services, which were later sold and taken public. He established four venture capital funds to invest in innovation, including the largest life sciences fund in Canada.

Dr. Stiller received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1965 and his fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC) in 1972, following seven years of post-graduate studies in Edmonton and London, Ontario. He is a member of the Order of Ontario and officer of the Order of Canada.


Ashraf Ibrahim, PhD

Dr. Ashraf Ibrahim is a professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a senior researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more than 25 years, Dr. Ibrahim has focused on studying mechanisms and factors associated with fungal and bacterial infections and translating this knowledge into novel therapies.

Dr Ibrahim has pioneered the use of iron chelation therapy for treating mucormycosis, a lethal infection, and has been a leader, among other colleagues, in developing vaccines against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus and the fungus Candida, which are the second and third most common causes of bloodstream infections. He is a co-founder of NovaDigm Therapeutics, Inc., which is developing vaccines against various fungal and bacterial infections, and Spectral Platforms, which has developed a rapid diagnostic tool to identify nosocomial and community-acquired infections. He is the founder of Vitalex Biosciences a company with focus on developing diagnostics and immunotherapy against rare infections.

Dr. Ibrahim received a BSc degree in Biochemistry-Microbiology from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and a PhD degree in Microbial Physiology from Loughborough University of Technology, UK. Dr. Ibrahim has co-authored more than 160 peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters, and review articles. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Program Committee Award in the area of therapy and prevention of microbial disease and his research program has been funded by the NIH and industry for the last 20 years.

Michael S. Kay, MD, PhD

Dr. Michael Kay is Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine and Scientific Director of the D-peptide Research Division. Dr. Kay has over 25 years of experience in protein folding and peptide/protein design with a special emphasis on mirror-image (D-) peptides. Together with Drs. Eckert and Welch, he used mirror-image phage display and structure-assisted design to develop the first high-affinity D-peptide inhibitors, which have been shown to block HIV entry. In collaboration with Navigen, Dr. Kay's group has expanded D-peptide design to diverse viral, bacterial, and human targets. Since D-peptide drug discovery requires the chemical synthesis of mirror-image protein targets, the Kay lab has recently focused on expanding the limits of chemical protein synthesis to proteins ›300 amino acids. Dr. Kay is an author on 29 publications, as well as an inventor on 10 patent applications (four issued). Before starting his independent lab at the University of Utah in 2001, Dr. Kay received his BA in Biology and Chemistry from Cornell, MD/PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford, and postdoctoral training at MIT as a Damon Runyon Fellow at MIT.

Debbie Eckert, PhD

Debra M. Eckert, PhD, is Research Associate Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine and Scientific Director, D-peptide Research Division. With over 20 years of experience in biochemistry and biophysics, Dr. Eckert focuses on the mechanisms of enveloped virus entry with an emphasis on developing D-peptide viral entry inhibitors. In her thesis work at MIT, she identified the first-generation D-peptide HIV entry inhibitors, and subsequently collaborated with Drs. Kay, Welch and Francis on work that resulted in a dramatic 500,000-fold potency increase in the inhibitor. Currently, she focuses on applying the D-peptide discovery platform to additional viral targets. She has authored 29 scientific publications and is an inventor on nine patents and patent applications. Dr. Eckert received her BS in Biology with Honors from Texas Christian University and her PhD in Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow.

Scientific Advisors

Peter Adamson, PhD

Dr. Adamson is Honorary Professor of Molecular Pathology at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Dr. Adamson has more than 22 years of experience in academic and industrial research; other recent roles included serving as the Chief Executive Officer at Ophthaltec Limited and as the Senior Director of Inflammation Biology (and Ophthalmology), the Centre for Excellence in External Drug Discovery (CEED) at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Most recently, Dr. Adamson was Vice President and Head of Research of the GlaxoSmithKline Ophthalmology Discovery Performance Unit.Dr. Adamson was involved with creating 9 drug discovery and development alliances at GSK.

Dr. Adamson received a BSc degree in Biochemistry from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and a PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of London. He has more than 90 publications that include research articles, reviews, and book chapters. Dr. Adamson has received more than 25 research awards in the area of inflammation and ophthalmology.

Paula Bokesch, MD

Dr. Bokesch is currently Chief Medical Officer at Tenax Therapeutics, where she is focused on clinical development of products for the critical care market. Prior to that she was Senior Medical Director at Cubist Pharmaceuticals where she held various positions in both drug discovery and clinical development, including Lead Senior Medical Director for Cubicin® (daptomycin). Cubicin® is an acute-care antibiotic indicated for treatment of complicated infections caused by certain gram positive bacteria. Among many other responsibilities, Paula was responsible for Cubicin® life cycle strategy and legacy studies and design and management of pediatric clinical trials.

Before moving to Cubist, she was Global Medical Director at Hospira. Her responsibilities at Hospira were focused primarily on global medical affairs and development and approval of a proprietary drug, the alpha-2-agonist sedative Precedex®, including study/protocol design Phase I - IV, study start up and conduct, eCRF design, writing clinical study reports, and two sNDA submissions to FDA.

Dr. Bokesch received her MD degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and served as a Pediatric Anesthesia Fellow at Harvard Medical School.

Peter Kiener, PhD

Dr. Peter Kiener currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D, for Sucampo Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kiener has extensive experience in drug development and in managing research, development, and operations at large and small biotechnology companies. Dr. Kiener held leadership roles of increasing responsibility from 2001 to 2009 at MedImmune LLC, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, including Executive Vice President and Global Head of Biologics Research and Development, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Research, and Vice President of Research.

More recently, Dr. Keiner served as CSO of Ambrx Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of antibody-drug conjugates. He also was President and Co-founder of Zyngenia Inc., an early-stage biopharmaceutical company.

Dr. Kiener has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on more than 40 patents and patent applications. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Lancaster and a doctorate of philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Oxford.

Dean Y. Li, MD, PhD

Dr. Dean Li, a co-founder of Navigen, is currently Vice President, Head of Translational Medicine at Merck & Co. in New Jersey. Prior to his role at Merck, Dean was on the cutting-edge of translational medical research at the University of Utah for more than two decades. During his time at the University, he co-founded multiple biotech companies stemming from research from his laboratory, including Navigen, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, and Hydra Biosciences. Dean served as the H.A. & Edna Benning Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, the Vice-Dean of Research at the University of Utah Health Science Center, and as the Chief Scientific Officer of University of Utah Health Care. Dean also served as interim CEO of Associated Regional University Pathologists (ARUP), the nation's third largest clinical reference laboratory, from 2015 to 2016. Dean trained at Washington University in Saint Louis before coming to Utah to work as a post-doc in the laboratory of Mark Keating.

Edward Nemeth, PhD

Dr. Edward Nemeth is a consultant to the biopharmaceutical industry and academic consortiums focused on drug discovery. He has experience in both academia and industry and is the former Chief Scientific Officer of NPS Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Shire in 2015. He discovered the parathyroid calcium receptor and coined the terms calcimimetic and calcilytic to describe activators and antagonists of this receptor. He is an inventor of cinacalcet, the first allosteric modulator of a G protein-coupled receptor to reach the market. He is currently involved in the development of calcilytics for the treatment of autosomal dominant hypocalcemia.

Dr. Nemeth received a BA in chemistry and psychology from Lawrence University, a MA in psychology from Princeton University, and MS, M.Phil. and PhD degrees in pharmacology from Yale University.

John M. McCall, PhD

Dr. John M. McCall, PhD began his career as a medicinal chemist with UpJohn and has subsequently held senior leadership positions with UpJohn, Pharmacia, and Pfizer. Dr. McCall was Director of CNS Research with Upjohn, Vice President and Global Head of Chemistry for both Pharmacia and Pharmacia & Upjohn, and Vice President Research with Pfizer. He currently serves as the president of PharMac, LLC.

Dr. McCall has expertise in drug discovery, risk minimization, and medicinal chemistry. He has over 33 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industries and has worked on a number of disease areas. Dr. McCall co-founded ReveraGen, a clinical-stage drug discovery and development company advancing therapeutic products for neuromuscular and inflammatory conditions. His research efforts have resulted in over 62 patents and over 74 scientific publications. He currently serves or has served as a member of administrative and scientific advisory boards in several organizations, which include NIH (Blueprint Project and NeuroNext Project), International Rett Syndrome Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and Scientific Review Board, NINDS (Spinal Muscular Atrophy Project and Translational Research Review Committee), and University of Rochester (Committee on Industry and Foundation Relations). Dr. McCall has consulted for more than 30 organizations and is currently engaged by University of Rochester HIV Dementia project, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Atlas Venture, and Knopp Neuroscience. He also serves as editor, member of editorial board, or reviewer of more than 10 scientific journals including CNS, Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, and Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry.

Dr. McCall received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin and pursued post doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

Guy A. Zimmerman, MD

Guy A. Zimmerman, MD is Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He was educated at Emory University and Baylor College of Medicine followed by postgraduate training at the University of Utah and the University of Washington.

In 1980, Dr. Zimmerman joined the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he has been a pulmonary and critical care physician, investigator, laboratory director, educator, interdisciplinary program director, and departmental leader. He began his faculty research career with studies involving patients with acute lung injury and the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in the hospital and intensive care unit. His initial observations generated fundamental questions regarding basic mechanisms and pathways in inflammation, hemostasis, and thrombosis. Dr. Zimmerman established primary human cell models to address these issues and, together with collaborators and trainees, identified new molecular mechanisms of endothelial-leukocyte interaction and intercellular signaling that have subsequently been validated in vivo and that ultimately contributed to novel anti-inflammatory strategies and clinical trials. Subsequent and ongoing studies generated discoveries in a number of areas in addition to ARDS, including cell-cell interactions, mechanisms of innate immune response and injury, gene expression in inflammation and thrombosis, human leukocyte, platelet, and endothelial biology, and clinical and experimental systemic inflammatory and infectious syndromes (sepsis, dengue, malaria, others).

Dr. Zimmerman's work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Thoracic Society (ATS), the American Heart Association (AHA), and private foundations. Past grants include an Established Investigator Award from the AHA (1985-1990) and a Merit Award from the NIH (1990-2015).

In 2013, Dr. Zimmerman was appointed a Special Visiting Professor in the Science Without Borders Program of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (CNPq) of Brazil. Zimmerman has received numerous awards for research, teaching, and clinical activities, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and Association of American Physicians (AAP). He has served on multiple scientific review committees, editorial boards, and advisory panels.

HIV Program Advisors

Charles W. Flexner, MD

Charles W. Flexner, MD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases, and a Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also a Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and serves as the Deputy Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Flexner is an expert on the pharmacology of drugs for HIV/AIDS and related infections. His research interests include studying clinical pharmacology of new anti-HIV therapies and drug combinations. Dr. Flexner has authored or co-authored more than 66 peer-reviewed research publications and 89 chapters, review articles, and letters. Dr. Flexner is a member of the editorial board of 11 scientific journals, has served as a consultant on FDA reform to the United States House of Representatives, and currently serves as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Dr. Flexner is the Principal Investigator of the Johns Hopkins University AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU) supported by the NIH.

Dr. Flexner received an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and pursued his residency in Internal Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center.

Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD

Dr. Warner C. Greene is the founding Director and the Nick and Sue Hellmann Distinguished Professor of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and is co-director of the federally funded UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research.

Dr. Greene received his BA degree with great distinction from Stanford University and his MD and PhD degrees with honors from Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard. Next, he served as a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute from 1979-1986 where he started his own laboratory. In 1987, he became Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Greene's studies focus on HIV pathogenesis including new insights into how CD4 T cells die during HIV infection and new approaches to curing HIV infection. He has authored than 370 scientific papers. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past president of the Association of American Physicians.

In 2007, Dr. Greene expanded his work to include global health in sub-Saharan Africa in his service as president and executive chairman of the Accordia Global Health Foundation. Accordia established the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Uganda, which has trained thousands of African health care workers, is caring for 30,000 HIV-infected patients, and has brought health care to nearly 500,000 people living in remote rural regions of Uganda. In 2016, Accordia merged with Africare.

Strategic Advisors

Lynn Bleil, MBA

Ms. Bleil recently retired from her role as Senior Partner (Director) of McKinsey & Company where she led the firm's West Coast Healthcare Practice and was a core leader of the Global Healthcare Practice. During her 25+ year tenure at McKinsey, Lynn gained significant expertise in strategy, M&A /integration, go-to-market strategies, and reimbursement/policy across all segments of the healthcare value chain — including payment and provision, healthcare IT, home care services, biotechnology/specialty pharma, and medical technology. Lynn is a strategic advisor to Halo Neuroscience and currently serves as a board director for three public companies including Sonova Group AG, Stericycle, and DST Systems. Lynne participates on the boards of a number of not-for-profit entities including the U.S. Ski Team Foundation and the Governing Board of the Intermountain Park City Hospital.

Lynn earned a BSE in chemical engineering from Princeton University and an MBA at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Will Dere, MD

Dr. Dere joined the University of Utah in November of 2014 as Executive Director of Personalized Health at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and a member of the Department of Medicine and Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Prior to re-joining academia, Dr. Dere was in the biopharmaceutical industry for 25 years. He joined Eli Lilly in 1989, and held a number of different global roles in clinical pharmacology, regulatory affairs, and both early-stage translational and late-stage clinical research. He moved to Amgen in 2003 where he held multiple roles including head of global development, international medical, and both corporate and international chief medical officer. Dr. Dere led the clinical development of raloxifene, rPTH 1-34, denosumab, and other drugs in oncology, inflammation, and nephrology.

Dr. Dere received a BA degree in Zoology and History and an MD degree from the University of California, Davis. He has published over 50 articles; wrote and co-edited a primary care textbook; was awarded the 2008 transformational leadership award from UC Davis and teaching awards annually from 1985-1989 at the University of Utah; and is a fellow in the American College of Physicians.

Raghav Chari, PhD

Raghav Chari, PhD heads the Proprietary Products organization at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, and is responsible for developing a viable portfolio of products in key specialty therapeutic areas and building a branded commercial presence in the US market. As part of the latter responsibilities Raghav is also head of Promius Pharma, a company focused on bringing innovative therapeutics to the medical dermatology space. Raghav joined Dr. Reddy's in 2006 as Vice President, Corporate Development for NCE & Speciality business and has helped shape the company's Proprietary Products business strategy while developing strong alliance platforms.

He started his career with McKinsey and Company, where he spent several years as an Associate, Engagement Manager and finally Associate Principal in McKinsey's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products practice. After McKinsey, he took senior roles in strategy and business development with Synaptic Pharmaceuticals, and subsequently with NPS Pharmaceuticals.

Raghav is a graduate in Mathematics and Physics from the California Institute of Technology and holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Princeton University.

PARTNERINGContact us for information

  • Navigen's substantial experience in D-peptide drug discovery and optimization and our proprietary assets, including our custom phage libraries and bioinformatics tools, position us to be a world leader in D-peptide discovery and development. We plan to work on new D-peptide targets independently as well as collaboratively with global partners. We anticipate out-licensing in-house D-peptide programs no later than after human proof of concept. For jointly developed programs, Navigen's preference is for our partner to take over development just prior to IND-enabling studies.

    For information about collaboration and partnering opportunities with Navigen, please contact Vimal Swarup at 801-587-1427 or

contact infoLet's get in touch


Navigen, Inc.

383 Colorow Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

Telephone: 801-587-1417

Media Contact

Brandi Simpson

Partnership and Business Development Contact:

Vimal Swarup