San Diego drugmaker aTyr Pharma has added Tim Coughlin, a highly-esteemed former biotech executive, to its board of directors.

Coughlin was the longtime chief financial officer of Neurocrine Biosciences, who recently announced retirement from the position in December. Coughlin was best known as the guy who helped bring Neurocrine back from the brink of financial ruin in 2006, when the company experienced a devastating rejection from the Food and Drug Administration on the company's lead product. The firm watched as its stock fell from about $70 per share to less than $3 by 2009. Neurocrine had to cut its staff from 600 people to 60.

“Some people lost 90 percent of their investment,” Coughlin said in a 2015 interview. “There’s no way to rebuild but through hard work.”

After recalibrating the company’s drug focus, Neurocrine set to work recapturing its investor base. Today, the company has made a massive recovery, trading for over $52 per share, and recently scoring FDA approval of its lead product.

Coughlin is bringing all that experience to aTyr, where he will serve as a board member.

“This is an exciting time for aTyr,” Coughlin said in a statement. “ATyr has a unique approach to pharmaceutical development given its leadership position in Physiocrine-based product biology across three important therapeutic areas. I look forward to contributing to aTyr potentially bringing these highly innovative products to patients.”

Coughlin also currently serves on the board of directors of Retrophin Inc. and Fate Therapeutics Inc., two local biotechnology companies. He chairs the audit committees and is also a member of the compensation committee and nominating committee.