Dr. Sachiko Kuno

Ph.D., Co-Founder

Dr. Sachiko Kuno studied biochemistry and biochemical engineering as one of a few Japanese female scientists. She obtained her Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from Kyoto University, Japan and has conducted post-doctoral research at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

In the mid-80s, Dr. Kuno joined her partner, Dr. Ryuji Ueno, and established R-Tech Ueno Ltd. in Japan to commercialize prostones, a class of functional fatty acids whose therapeutic potential was first identified by Dr. Ueno. Leading teams of talented scientists, Drs. Ueno and Kuno unlocked the therapeutic potential of prostones, and successfully developed and launched Rescula® eye drops, their first product in Japan.

Leveraging R-Tech’s success in Japan, Dr. Kuno and Dr. Ueno moved to Bethesda MD and established Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Dr. Kuno served as a founding CEO of Sucampo. She was instrumental not only in the research and development of the second product AMITIZA® (lubiprostone), but also successfully raising capital to commercialize AMITIZA®, including IPO in 2007, and enter into strategic partnership with major pharmaceutical companies. Sucampo received marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for AMITIZA® (lubiprostone) for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic non-cancer pain in 2006, 2008 and 2013 respectively and subsequently received regulatory approval in Switzerland, United Kingdom and Japan.

Dr. Kuno has received a number of awards and recognitions over the years. These include the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Washington Area in the Life Sciences Category (2007), recognition as one of the 25 “Women Who Mean Business” by The Washington Business Journal (2009), .  She has also been named in the Forbes Magazine’s Top 50 America’s Richest Self Made Women (2015) and the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Japan (2015).