Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Ryo Kubota is an ophthalmologist by training who has performed more than 1,000 eye surgeries. Dr. Kubota spent his early career performing ocular research at Keio University, where he earned his MD and PhD. 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 he founded Acucela in 2002 in Seattle to develop novel therapeutics for patients with blinding eye diseases. During the formative years of the company, Dr. Kubota raised more than $40 million over three rounds of private financing, including a $25 million Series C in March 2007. Pre-IPO investors include SBI Holdings (lead investor), Olympus, Fuji Film and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. In 2008, Dr. Kubota brought in research collaboration revenue from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals totaling $269 million. Then in 2014, Acucela made a successful Initial Public Offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Board and raised $149 million at the IPO. Dr. Kubota has raised over $450 million in total for Acucela.
In December 2016, following a redomicile transaction, Acucela Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. of Japan and Kubota Pharma listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Board (Tokyo 4596). The company is committed to translating innovation into a diverse portfolio of drugs and devices to preserve and restore vision for millions of people worldwide. Acucela's development pipeline include drug candidates for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, Stargardt disease, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and presbyopia, and optogenetics-based gene therapy for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. The company is also developing a handheld OCT device for the monitoring of neovascular retinal diseases, to be used directly by patients at their homes.
Dr. Kubota holds an MD and a PhD in medicine from Keio University. He has served as a faculty member at Keio University and at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He was board certified in ophthalmology by the Japanese Ophthalmological Society in 1996 and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the Japanese Ophthalmology Society, Keio Medical Society, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), and the America-Japan Society, Inc.
Since 2008, Dr. Kubota has been a director of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. He is also a board member of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). He is an official columnist for Forbes Japan and the Japan Times, as well as an editorial member of newspaper for Keio University, School of Medicine. In 2019, he was appointed as a principal investigator for NASA's deep space missions.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Maekawa joined Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings in June 2018. Prior to that, from 2013 to 2018, he was Chief Financial Officer for CEOLIA Pharma, a privately held pharmaceutical company focusing on ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), and, he became a Board member in 2014. From 2009 through 2013, he was Chief Financial Officer for SymBio Pharmaceuticals, a Japanese biotech company specializing in cancer, immune diseases and hematology. He was also a Board member and Senior Executive Officer. He successfully led SymBio to an IPO in 2011. He was Head of Corporate Planning at Sosei in 2005, and became Sosei Group's Representative Executive Officer and Vice President, and Representative Director in 2006. From 1990 to 2005, he was responsible for Asset Management and Corporate Sales at Nippon Life Insurance Company where he began his career in finance.
He has over 10 years of executive officer experience as CFO and COO in biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He has a strong understanding of finance, financial analysis, business planning, healthcare business and organizational management.
CMA (Chartered Member of the Securities Analysts Association of Japan)
SMEC (Certified consultant for Small and Medium sized Enterprise)
Bachelor of Economics from Doshisha University (1990)
Board of Directors
Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD
Representative Executive Officer, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Acucela Inc.
Chief Financial Officer, DeNA Co., Ltd.
Robert J. Stevens
Chief Technology Officer, CorneaGen
Corporate Auditor, Koinobori Associates Inc.
President, RT Consulting, Inc.
David G. Birch, PhD
Research Director, Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Director of the Rose-Silverthorne Retinal Degenerations Laboratory, Dallas
Karl G. Csaky, MD, PhD
T. Boone Pickens Senior Scientist, Director, Harrington Molecular Laboratory, Member, Texas Retina Associates
Pravin U. Dugel, MD
Managing Partner, Retinal Consultants of Arizona
Dean Eliott, MD
Co-Director, Mass Eye & Ear, Vitrectomy Course, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
Vitreoretinal Specialist, Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston
Frank G. Holz, MD
Chairman & Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Germany
Anne S. Lindblad, PhD
Executive Vice President, The EMMES Corporation
Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS
Director, Retina Service, Wills Eye Institute-Mid-Atlantic Retina; Professor, Ophthalmology, Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine
Philip J. Rosenfeld, MD, PhD
Professor, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Palm Beach Gardens University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Gaurav K. Shah, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; Director of Vitreoretinal Fellowship Program, Washington University School of Medicine
Michael A. Singer, MD
Vitreoretinal Surgeon and Managing Partner, Medical Center Ophthalmology Associates; Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Center
Janet S. Sunness, MD
Medical Director of Hoover Rehabilitation Services for Low Vision and Blindness, Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Kang Zhang, MD, PhD
Professor of Ophthalmology & Human Genetics, Shiley Eye Center, University of California San Diego
Eberhart Zrenner, MD
Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Director of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Centre for Ophthalmology, University of Tuebingen, Germany