Yutaka Niihara, MD, MPH
Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board
Dr. Niihara has been involved in patient care and research for sickle cell disease for most of his career, and is the principal inventor of the patented L-glutamine therapy for treatment of sickle cell disease. He is a cofounder of Emmaus, principal investigator for LABioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
His experience includes serving as President, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Hope International Hospice. Board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine/Hematology, Dr. Niihara is licensed to practice medicine in both the U.S. and Japan. His honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California and the Abigail Kawananako Award. Dr. Niihara received his B.A. in Religion from Loma Linda University, obtained his M.D. from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1986, and received his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health in 2006.
Willis C. Lee, MS
Chief Operating Officer, Vice-Chairman of the Board
Mr. Lee has more than 30 years of management and consulting experience with influential companies in the healthcare and semiconductor industries. Prior to joining Emmaus, Mr. Lee led worldwide sales and business development of Yield Dynamics’ product group at MKS Instruments. He joined the Company in 2009 and has served as Chief Operating Officer since May 2011.
He has held various managerial and senior positions at companies including HPL, Syntricity and Reden & Anders, a subsidiary of United Healthcare that provides actuarial services including capitation and risk assessment analyses for healthcare insurance carriers. Mr. Lee received his B.S. and M.S. in Physics from University of Hawaii and University of South Carolina, respectively. He was a member of the American Physical Society, completed TQM/SPC programs, and has published papers in Nuclear Instruments and Methods.
Seah H. Lim, M.D., Ph.D
Dr. Lim, age 64, has more than 25 years of experience working in academia and with pharmaceutical companies in the clinical developments of products in hematology, oncology, and transplantation. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology and is an internationally recognized physician-investigator with extensive leadership experience and a track record of success in clinical and research and development. Most recently, since June 2021 he has served as Chief Executive Officer of Medicovestor Bio PLC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a privately held development-stage biotechnology company. From January 2017 to December 2021, he served as a consultant to Salix Pharmaceuticals/Bausch Healthcare where he was instrumental in obtaining FDA designation of rifaximin as an orphan drug for the treatment of sickle cell disease. He also has served as a consultant to numerous “big pharma” companies, including Genzyme, USA, Burroughs Wellcome, and Amgen Corporation. Since October 2021, he has served as Associate Director, Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant and Director of the Adult Sickle Cell Program at Upstate State University of New York Medical Center, Syracuse, New York. Dr. Lim has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and has served as Section Editor, Journal of Translational Medicine since 2016. He received his MB ChB and MD degrees from Aberdeen University School of Medicine, Aberdeen, Scotland, and Ph.D. from University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales. We believe Dr. Lim is well-qualified to serve as a director based on his expertise and experience in the treatment of sickle cell disease and extensive background as a researcher and executive officer and consultant in the pharmaceutical industry both in the U.S. and abroad.
Wei Peu Zen, MBA
Mr. Zen is Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wai Kee Holdings Limited., a Hong Kong-based construction and infrastructure company whose shares are listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Limited. He is also the Chairman of Build King Holdings Limited and Chairman of Road King Infrastructure Limited, both of which are subsidiaries of Wai Kee Holdings Limited. Mr. Zen has over 45 years of experience in civil engineering, and is responsible for the overall management of the Wai Kee Holdings Limited group of companies. He oversees the operations of the group’s construction, quarry and concrete divisions. Mr. Zen holds a B.Sc. degree in Engineering from The University of Hong Kong and a M.B.A. from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and is a member of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and fellow member of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and the Institute of Quarrying, UK, respectively. He is a past Honorary Treasurer of the Hong Kong Construction Association and a member of HKTDC Infrastructure Development Advisory Committee. He is also the President of the Hong Kong Contract Bridge Association.
Mr. Zwicker, age 75, served as a director, Chair of the Compensation Committee and member of the Nominations and Governance Committee of Emmaus from the completion of our merger transaction with EMI Holding, Inc. on July 17, 2019, until his retirement as a director in conjunction with our Annual Meeting of Stockholders held on November 23, 2021. He had served as a director of EMI Holding, Inc. since December 7, 2015. Mr. Zwicker is the founder of Zwicker Advisory Group, an independent financial advisory consulting firm, and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2014. From 1981 to 1990, Mr. Zwicker served as Managing Director and held a variety of management positions at the investment banking firms of SG Cowen and Hambrecht & Quist. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Zwicker served as Managing Director and head of worldwide technology investment banking for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation, and from 2000 to 2001 as the President of WR Hambrecht + Co (WRH). He was a Director of Stirling Energy Systems, Inc. from 2006 to 2012. Mr. Zwicker was a Partner at WRH and was also Head of Capital Markets from 2013 to 2014. We believe Mr. Zwicker is qualified to serve as a director due to his prior service on the Board of Directors and standing Board committees and his extensive investment banking and financial expertise and experience.