Chairman, President & CEO
Dr. Kubota, a world-renowned ophthalmologist, founded Acucela in 2002 and serves as the company’s president and CEO.
Dr. Kubota spent his early career performing ocular research at Keio University, where he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. In the course of his work there, he discovered the glaucoma gene, myocilin, a discovery that earned him the Suda Award for his contribution to the field of neurodegenerative retinal disease. Dr. Kubota continued his research at the University of Washington and later licensed his findings from the university as the core technology on which Acucela was formed.
Dr. Kubota practiced ophthalmology in Japan for 10 years before moving back to Washington to become an assistant professor at the University of Washington. He then founded Acucela to have a global impact through the development of novel and safe therapies for patients with blinding eye diseases.
Dr. Kubota is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Japanese Ophthalmological Society, Keio Medical Society, and is a board member of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. In 2009, Dr. Kubota was named one of Seattle Business Magazine’s Top 25 Innovators & Entrepreneurs in Washington State. In August 2011, he was named one of the most inspiring people in the life sciences industry by PharmaVOICE and in October 2011 he was selected as one of the Nikkei Business 100, Nikkei Business Magazine’s inaugural list of the most influential people to Japan’s future. Dr. Kubota was also nominated as one of the Emerging Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders in 2010 by Pharmaceutical Executive magazine. The Emerging Leaders program recognizes professional accomplishments among the next generation of executives. Candidates for this award are age 45 or younger and display a track record of leadership in managing projects, operations, or people in private sector companies with a mission to develop and deliver medicines to patients. Most recently, Dr. Kubota was profiled in the May 2012 issue of AERA Magazine, a leading national publication in Japan. Also in May 2012, Dr. Kubota was named Emerging Leader - Japan, a US/Japan Innovation Award, Japan Society of Northern California and Stanford University’s US-Asia Technology Management Center.
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Vice President, Human Resources
She completed her Senior Professional In Human Resources (SPHR) certification in 2004.
Chief Financial Officer
Most recently, Mr. Lowrance served as CFO for Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: CPIX) As a member of the management team, he was integral to the Company’s successful IPO. In addition, he led all aspects of finance and accounting, and played a key role in formulating the Company’s business and financing strategies. Formerly, he was head of finance at a division of BorgWarner Inc, a leading $3B auto manufacturer supplier, where he successfully implemented results-oriented processes and procedures which saved time, money and increased productivity. At Icore International Inc., a leader in military and aerospace solutions, he was Senior Vice President, Finance. He was recruited to Icore to lead a merger transaction for the company and did so under budget and on time. Mr. Lowrance began his career as an accountant at Ernst & Young, LLP, where he managed a number of healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and not-for profit clients.
Most recently, he was named as one of the Emerging Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders by Pharmaceutical Executive magazine. Click here to read the full article. In addition, Mr. Lowrance presented on strategies for forging strong alliances, including the financial aspects of deal making, considerations when working with Big Pharma and how global partnerships can be beneficial at CBI’s 8th Annual PHARMA/BIOTECH Accounting and Reporting Congress in Philadelphia. In addition, he was selected as one of the presenters to be profiled in the Congress’ Insights from 2012 Industry Leaders brochure.
He holds a BBA in accounting from the University of Georgia, College of Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Vice President, Clinical Development
Most notably, she led Clinical Research for Pharmacia’s glaucoma drug, Xalatan (latanaprost) in Germany and played a leadership role within Pfizer’s U.S. Medical Affairs group for Xalatan and the collaboration on Eyetech’s Macugen, the first VEGF inhibitor approved by the FDA for the treatment of wet AMD. Prior to Acucela, she served as Vice President, Scientific and Medical Affairs at Bausch & Lomb Surgical, where she led medically related strategies for the Company’s global business, including Phase 4 post-marketing studies and product safety reviews. Earlier in her career, Dr. Ludwig held the position of Chief Medical Officer for Alacrity Biosciences, where she led development programs in glaucoma and dry eye syndrome. Further, she has held leadership positions at Amicus Therapeutics as Senior Vice President of Clinical Research; US Medical Group Leader for Ophthalmology and Endocrinology at Pfizer; and various R&D positions of increasing responsibility at Pharmacia and Pharmacia & Upjohn.
Dr. Ludwig earned her M.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany and her EUCOR/ECPM Certificate in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the Medical School Basel, Switzerland.
Executive Director, Alliance Management & Business Development
She earned her B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan, and obtained her national pharmacist license in Japan.
Vice President, Commercial Operations & Strategic Marketing
Dr. Pfleger has over 30 years of professional experience in ophthalmology, especially in global strategic marketing and other sales and marketing functions. A former Allergan executive, Dr. Pfleger was responsible for global marketing and market research. In that role he was closely involved in establishing Allergan’s ophthalmic strategy, worked with R&D on the ophthalmic pipeline to ensure that all products met market and customer needs, and led the global launches of a variety of products, including Alphagan® and Lumigan® to treat patients suffering from glaucoma, Restasis® to increase tear production in patients with dry eye disease, several artificial tears products, Ozurdex® and others.
Dr. Pfleger holds both his PhD and Diploma (Master’s degree) in Chemistry from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.
Vice President, Retina
Dr. Schneider, a board certified ophthalmologist, brings to Acucela an impressive array of academic, industry and development experience, as well as recognized achievement in medicine and science. Most recently, she served as Senior Director/Head Unit Physician, Ophthalmology at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where she held a leadership role in driving the Company’s geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration program.
Her prior industry experience includes Medical Director at Genentech where she worked extensively on the LUCENTIS® program; Chief Medical Officer for Santen Inc., where she played an integral role in management discussions with the Japanese parent company and post- product launch responsibilities for IQUIX™; and Director, Clinical and Scientific Affairs, Bausch & Lomb, a global position, where she played a key role in approval responsibilities related to the launch of Besivance™. She previously held full time academic appointments in the departments of ophthalmology and pathology at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Schneider has co-authored and published over 30 articles for a variety of journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Ophthalmology, and Ophthalmology Journal and chapters in texts including Duane’s Clinical Ophthalmology and Yanoff-Duker’s Ophthalmology.
For her leadership and accomplishments in the field of ophthalmology, she received the 2004 Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology; the Physician’s Recognition Award from American Medical Association; first prize, short film, ASCRS meeting; and was recognized as one of America’s Top Ophthalmologists, Consumer’s Research Council of America, Guide to America’s Top Ophthalmologists, among many other notable distinctions.
Dr. Schneider earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her MD from the Medical College of Pennsylvania followed by a residency in ophthalmology at the Medical College of Virginia. She completed fellowship training in ocular oncology at the Wills Eye Institute/Thomas Jefferson University and in ophthalmic pathology at the Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Executive Director, Clinical Operations
She received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the National Taiwan University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her post-doctoral training was completed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.