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Meet the executive team

Akihiro (Aki) Tsujimura

AKIHIRO (AKI) TSUJIMURA

President & CEO
Executive Corporate Officer,
Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Aki serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Santen’s US business. He is Executive Corporate Officer, and also serves as Head of Corporate Development Division and Head of Asia and North America Businesses for Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. While at Santen, Aki held various leadership roles of increasing responsibility in general management, country leadership, and corporate development. He previously served as both COO and CEO of Santen US before returning to Japan to assume the role of Corporate Officer and Head of Asia Division. Under his leadership as Head of Asia Division, Santen expanded its operations and presence in Asia from 4 countries to 15, including Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Aki joined Santen in 2004 as Manager of the Corporate Planning Group, and later became General Manager of the Business Development Division, leading business development strategy and all licensing and M&A transactions. Prior to Santen, Aki held various roles in Nichimen Corporation, one of Japan’s largest trading companies, which later became part of Sojitz Corporation.

Aki holds an MBA from Kobe University, Japan, and a Bachelor of Science, Chemical Industry degree from Kanazawa University, Japan.

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NAVEED SHAMS

NAVEED SHAMS, MD, PhD

Head of Global R&D,
Chief Scientific Officer,
Senior Corporate Officer,
Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Since joining Santen in 2010 as Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Dr. Shams has served as Head of Global Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, and, most recently, as President and CEO of Santen US. With over 20 years of experience in global drug development, Dr. Shams has played a significant and critical role in bringing three products to market, including Zaditor®/Zaditen®, Rescula®, and Lucentis®. He also supported the post-marketing efforts for Visudyne®. His industry experience spans companies such as Genentech, Novartis, OPKO Health, Storz Ophthalmics, and most recently On Demand Therapeutics, a drug delivery start-up where he was President and Chief Medical Officer. While at Genentech, Dr. Shams led the clinical team in the development and approval of ranibizumab (Lucentis®).

Dr. Shams received his Medical degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan, and his PhD from the University of South Carolina in microbiology and immunology. He completed fellowships in cornea and external diseases at Harvard Medical School and histocompatibility and immunogenetics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Shams was formerly on faculty at Schepens Eye Research Institute and in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

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MASAHIRO (MAS) INOUE

MASAHIRO (MAS) INOUE

Chief Administrative Officer

Since joining Santen in 2011, Mas has held several global leadership roles, including General Manager of ASEAN and India, Managing Director of Santen Pharmaceutical Asia, and most recently, Chief Administrative Officer of Santen US. Prior to Santen, Mas served as a Corporate Officer, Head of New Business Development and Regulatory Consultation Services, and as Director in the CEO office at CMIC Co., Ltd., the largest Clinical Research Organization (CRO) in Japan. Previously, Mas held various leadership and general management roles at Novartis Pharma K.K. and Baxter Limited in Japan, where he was Head of Primary Care Sales and Business Unit Head of BioScience, respectively. Mas also served as President of Jens Corporation, AT&T Japan, and held several market planning and development positions at Grace Japan, a wholly owned Japanese subsidiary of W.R. Grace. Earlier in his career, Mas worked at a global strategy consulting firm and a Japanese commercial bank based in the US. Mas received his MBA from the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, and a Bachelor of Law degree from Keio University, Japan.

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MARCEL CONRAD

MARCEL KONRAD

Chief Financial Officer

Marcel joined Santen in November 2013, as the Controller, and soon after became Senior Director, Finance and Accounting, leading the Company’s Finance, Facilities, and Procurement organizations. Prior to Santen, Marcel held several positions at Novartis with increasing responsibilities, starting at Novartis Global Headquarters in Basel, Switzerland in 2005. Before joining Novartis, Marcel worked for KPMG as an auditor, after starting his career in the Banking and Airline industry. Marcel is a licensed CPA, holds an International MBA from the University of San Diego, and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

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YUSUF ALI, PhD

YUSUF ALI, PhD

Senior Vice President & Global Function Head, Biomedical Science
Regional R&D Representative

Dr. Ali joined Santen in December 2003 as a Principal Director in Pharmaceutical Development, and most recently served as Vice President of Research and Development and as Vice President, Global Function Head, Biomedical Sicence. He had previously been Vice President of New Product Development at GOJO Industries for over 6 years, where he played a critical role for the development of skin health products, including Purell®. Prior to that, he was employed at Alcon Laboratories for over 14 years managing and directing groups involved in ophthalmic formulation development, drug delivery, and process development for products such as Azopt®, Patanol®, Travatan®, and Ciloxan®. Dr. Ali holds more than 25 US and international patents in the area of ophthalmic products and received a PhD from the University of Florida in Chemical Engineering.

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XAVIER AVAT

XAVIER AVAT

Vice President, Corporate Development

Xavier brings over 20 years of global pharmaceutical experience. Over his career, Xavier held roles in global operations, commercial and corporate development at Gilead Sciences, Genentech, Schering Plough and bioMerieux. Xavier joined Santen in 2015 to lead the Corporate Development Strategy for North and South America, driving directly the commercialization efforts in Canada and Latin America.

Prior to Santen, Xavier spent 7 years at Gilead Sciences where he first joined the management team of the Atripla® joint venture with Bristol-Myers Squibb. He then managed Gilead operations in Latin America where he oversaw the launches of several products across the region. Xavier then joined the US Commercial group to support the launch of Gilead’s Hepatitis franchise in the US. In this role, he was in charge of marketing activities for providers and led the creation of Gilead’s first field-based Access and Reimbursement team.

Previously, Xavier held roles of increasing responsibility at Schering Plough and Genentech, including Head of the International Operations for Genentech. Xavier began his career at bioMerieux Europe. He holds an MBA from EDHEC Business School, and an engineering degree in bio-processes from the Polytechnic School of Lille University, France.

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RAM PALANKI

RAM PALANKI

Vice President,
US Strategic Marketing and Sales

Dr. Palanki comes to Santen with more than a decade of experience in ophthalmology across marketing, sales, reimbursement, commercial operations, business development and medical affairs leadership. Prior to joining Santen, he was Global Head of Marketing and Sales at Thrombogenics, Inc., where he led the commercial launch for Jetrea®, a novel proteolytic enzyme therapy for Symptomatic VMA. Previously, Dr. Palanki served as Director of Global Marketing and Sales at NeoVista, Inc., and earlier in his career, held several positions at Genentech as part of the team that developed and launched Lucentis®

Prior to Genentech, he worked at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals as part of the initial team submitting the NDA for Macugen™, and at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in the New Product Commercialization group. Dr. Palanki obtained his Pharm.D. degree from Albany College of Pharmacy, NY, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Rutgers University.

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JESSICA WILAN

JESSICA WILAN

Vice President, Human Resources

Jessica brings 20 years’ experience in Life Sciences, Organization Development and Human Resources. She joined Santen after almost ten years at Novartis in HR and OD Leadership roles in the US and Switzerland. At Novartis, Jessica introduced a new approach to drug discovery team effectiveness and led global matrixed teams in rolling out new employee survey and change management approaches to Novartis. Prior to Novartis, Jessica worked in HR and OD for EMC Corporation in Hopkinton, MA, in management consulting for Sibson Consulting, and as a Program Associate at the New York Academy of Sciences. Jessica’s passion is for helping people recognize their talents and passions and creating and supporting an environment that encourages people to do their best work. She holds a BA in Biology from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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