TSRI appointed Peter G. Schultz (right) as CEO and Steve A. Kay as president. -- Photo courtesy of TSRI

TSRI appointed Peter G. Schultz (right) as CEO and Steve A. Kay as president. -- Photo courtesy of TSRI

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has appointed two top scientists to address the institute’s cash and management problems, according to a recent news release.

Peter G. Schultz, an institute chemist and entrepreneur, will serve as chief executive while biologist Steve A. Kay serves as president, the board of trustees said. Kay is moving from the University of Southern California, where he was dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The appointments are the latest in a series of leadership changes at the research institute. Over the last decade, public funding from the National Institutes of Health has flattened, competition for philanthropy has intensified, and pharmaceutical companies have shifted away from providing unrestricted funds for basic research. This has meant that Scripps and other independent research organizations have struggled to stay afloat.

Dick Gephardt, chair of the TSRI Board of Trustees, said in a statement that Schultz and Kay will work together to further enhance the institute's scientific reputation and build a strong financial base for the organization. Schutlz and Kay recently told the San Diego Union-Tribune that they will achieve this by more thoroughly developing drug molecules that pharmaceutical companies would want to license and bring to market.

Schultz will take the lead in developing long-term strategy and external alliances, with a focus on transforming discoveries into marketable drugs and therapies, while Kay will spearhead the academic and operational activities of the institute.

Schultz assumes his role immediately, while Kay will begin as president-elect as he transitions from USC.