TORRANCE, Calif., February 1, 2016 – Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. (the Company or Emmaus), a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative treatments and therapies for rare and orphan diseases, announced the recent appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors:
- Ian Zwicker, founder and CEO of Zwicker Advisory Group
- Jon Kuwahara, Corporate Controller of Avanir Pharmaceuticals
- Masaharu Osato, M.D., Independent Shareholder
Zwicker, Kuwahara and Osato will also serve on the Company’s Audit Committee and Compensation, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Zwicker will serve as the Chairman of the Compensation, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Kuwahara will serve as the Chairman of the Audit Committee.
“Our new board members bring a diverse range of skills sets from investment banking, accounting and compliance and the medical field,” said Yutaka Niihara, M.D., MPH, Chairman and CEO of Emmaus. “We look forward to their collaboration and we are particularly grateful for their desire to join us in our work on sickle cell disease.”
Following is biographical information on the new Emmaus directors:
Ian Zwicker is the founder of Zwicker Advisory Group and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2014. Mr. Zwicker was a Partner at WR Hambrecht + Co (WRH) and was also Head of Capital Markets. Previously Mr. Zwicker served as the President of WRH, Managing Director for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation. He also held a variety of management positions at the investment banking firms of SG Cowen and Hambrecht & Quist, including serving as Managing Director.
Jon Kuwahara has served as Corporate Controller of Avanir Pharmaceuticals (“Avanir”), a biopharmaceutical company since 2014. Kuwahara also briefly served as a consultant for Avanir. He has served as Associate Director of Finance and Assistant Corporate Controller of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, and is a certified public accountant in California.
Dr. Masaharu Osato has been practicing gastroenterology and internal medicine (“GI”) at his private practice, the Osato Medical Clinic in Torrance, Calif. since 2001. He completed a GI Fellowship at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center and served as General Internist and Director of Health Screening Center at the Tokyo Adventist Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, as well as at the Kobe Adventist Hospital in Kobe, Japan. He attended the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California and completed an internal medicine residency at the Kettering Memorial Medical Center in Dayton Ohio. Dr. Osato also completed one year of pediatric residency at the Loma Linda University Medical Center.
About Emmaus Life Sciences
Emmaus Life Sciences is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative treatments and therapies for rare diseases. The Company’s research on SCD was initiated by Dr. Niihara at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Emmaus’ SCD therapy has Orphan Drug designation in the U.S. and Europe and Fast Track designation from the FDA. The Company has completed a 230 patient Phase 3 trial. For more information, please visit www.emmauslifesciences.com.
About Sickle Cell Disease
SCD is an inherited blood disorder characterized by the production of an altered form of hemoglobin which polymerizes and becomes fıbrous, causing red blood cells to become rigid and change form so that they appear sickle shaped instead of soft and rounded. Patients with SCD suffer from debilitating episodes of sickle cell crisis, which occur when the rigid, adhesive and inflexible red blood cells occlude blood vessels. Sickle cell crisis causes excruciating pain as a result of insufficient oxygen being delivered to tissue, referred to as tissue ischemia, and inflammation. These events may lead to organ damage, stroke, pulmonary complications, skin ulceration, infection and a variety of other adverse outcomes. SCD is an orphan disease in the U.S affecting approximately 100,000 patients in the U.S and millions worldwide with significant unmet medical needs.
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding the research, development and potential commercialization of pharmaceutical products, and the addition of new board members and their potential impact on the company. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. Additional risks and uncertainties are described in reports filed by Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Emmaus is providing this information as of the date of this press release and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.