Healthcare >> CEO Interviews >> March 17, 2009

Dr. Ryo Kubota – Acucela Inc.

Dr. Ryo Kubota is the Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acucela Inc. He is a world-renowned ophthalmologist, having performed over 1,000 eye surgeries, including surgeries on Japanese government officials and other high-profile individuals. With the goal of having a global impact on treating devastating eye diseases, Dr. Kubota focused his career on doing extensive ocular research at Keio University, the oldest and one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan, and in so doing, discovered the glaucoma gene, myocilin. This discovery earned Dr. Kubota the Suda Award for his contribution to the field of neurodegenerative retinal disease. Dr. Kubota's work in the field of retinal neurodegeneration has been cited more than 500 times and has opened the door to other discoveries. As a leader in neurodegenerative disease research, he continued doing ocular research at the University of Washington (UW). His findings, which were then licensed from UW, comprise the core technology that Acucela is based on. Dr. Kubota received his MD and PhD from the esteemed Keio University in Japan, and then spent five years practicing general ophthalmology at Keio Hospital. Following that, Dr. Kubota spent three years doing a retinal fellowship at Toranomon Hospital and returned back to Keio Hospital for two years prior to becoming an assistant professor at UW. He then founded Acucela based on the technologies that were licensed from UW. Dr. Kubota is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Japanese Ophthalmological Society and the Japan Glaucoma Association, and serves on the Foresight Group of the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University and on the Board of the Japan-America Society. Dr. Kubota was raised in Japan but had extended exposure to the United States due to a three-year stint in New York, given his father's profession as a port captain. Helping patients by performing ocular surgeries and treatments for their retinal diseases was fulfilling for Dr. Kubota, but he is driven to have an impact on a global scale where he hopes to help millions of people by developing novel and safe therapies for patients with multiple blinding eye diseases. Profile
TWST: We would like to begin with a brief historical sketch of the company and a

picture of the things you're doing now.

Dr. Kubota: Our company was founded in April 2002 by me. I was a