Dr. Ryuji Ueno

M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, Chair and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Ueno is an internationally recognized researcher in pharmacology, physiology and the biochemistry of endogenic functional fatty acids and their related compounds. Trained and certified as a Medical Doctor at Keio University School of Medicine in Japan, Dr. Ueno spent his academic career in the fields of pharmacology, physiology and biochemistry at Columbia University (USA), Kyoto University (Japan), Osaka University (Japan) and Stanford University (USA). As a leading expert in his field, Dr. Ueno has authored more than 100 articles in notable scientific journals.

In the 1980s, Dr. Ueno started pharmaceutical development based on his research with prostones, a class of functional fatty acids whose tremendous therapeutic potential Dr. Ueno first discovered. This class of lipids is the subject of over 900 patents and patent applications worldwide. After 10 years of biomedical research, Dr. Ueno, together with Dr. Sachiko Kuno, established R-Tech Ueno, Ltd., their first biopharmaceutical company, in Japan to engage in the research and development of new chemical substances discovered by him. Their first product, Rescula®‚ an anti-glaucoma treatment, was successfully commercialized in Japan in 1994. Since then, Rescula® Eye Drops have been sold in more than 45 countries and have treated more than 500,000 patients since its launch. R-Tech Ueno in 2008 completed its IPO and is today listed on JASDAQ (Code: 4573).

Leveraging the success in Japan, Dr. Ueno, together with Dr. Kuno, moved to the U.S. and established Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1996 to bring his discoveries to the American markets. At Sucampo, Drs successfully developed and commercialized the second product , AMITIZA® (lubiprostone), for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults, for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and for opioid-induced constipation in 2006, 2008 and 2013 respectively.  Today, AMITIZA® (lubiprostone) is available on the market in Japan and Europe. In 2007, Sucampo filed for IPO and is today listed and traded on NASDAQ. Dr. Ueno served as Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Sucampo until he stepped down in spring 2014 to focus his effort on VLP Therapeutics.

Dr. Ueno has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years. These include: Nikkei BP Publications’ Japan Innovator of the Year Award (2006), the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Washington Area in the Life Sciences Category (2006), an  honorary member of the American Gastroenterological Association (2008), and the Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award (2014).