Team Members

Sakae Asanuma, CFA, MBA, President & CEO

Sakae Asanuma established Taiho Ventures as the founding President in 2016. Prior to joining Taiho, he was President and CEO at Astellas Venture Management and US Head of Astellas Innovation Management in 2011-2015. Prior to Astellas, he worked for Yasuda Enterprise, a Japan/US-based VC firm in 2000-2011. He has invested in more than 50 biotech companies since 2000 and majority of his portfolios achieved IPOs or M&AS. During his tenure at Taiho and Astellas, he led to executed dozens of research collaboration deals with academia and biotech ventures, including several build-to-buys or spin-outs.

Seiji Miyahara, PhD, Senior Investment Director

Seiji Miyahara joined Taiho Ventures in 2016. He is mainly responsible for investment identification, due diligence, new company creation and open innovation for Taiho Pharmaceutical. Seiji currently serves as a board observer or a board member for several portfolio companies. Prior to joining Taiho Ventures, he worked for Taiho Pharmaceutical for 12 years as a chemistry project leader in oncology field, where he was involved in the development of first-in-class dUTPase/DPD dual inhibitor (TAS-114) and a wide range of oncology drug discovery programs. He received his PhD in life science from Hokkaido University in Japan.

HITOSHI MIYAKOSHI, PHD, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR

Hitoshi Miyakoshi joined Taiho ventures in 2021. He worked at Taiho Pharmaceutical for 16 years as a medicinal chemist in drug discovery for anti-cancer agents. He led cancer metabolism and brain cancer projects as a chemistry leader, including dUTPase/DPD dual inhibitor (TAS-114) and brain-penetrable drug discovery projects. Besides that, he also engaged in open-innovation support in a wide range of drug discovery field at Taiho. He received his PhD in pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry from Gifu Pharmaceutical University.

TAKAAKI ISHII, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR

Takaaki Ishii, a molecular biologist by training, joined Taiho Ventures in 2019. He has acquired over 11 years of oncology expertise in early stage clinical development, product portfolio strategies as well as scientific evaluations for in-house and potential partnering programs in a wide range of cancer types. His representative contribution to Taiho Pharmaceutical includes in-licensing AB928 (A2aR/A2bR Dual Antagonist) from Arcus Biosciences as well as both medical and Medical Science Liaison activities for nab-paclitaxel (ABRAXANE®) and pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®) in Japan.

HIDEFUMI KASUGA, PHD, ASSOCIATE INVESTMENT DIRECTOR

Hidefumi Kasua joined Taiho Ventures in 2022. He previously spent nine years in oncology drug discovery at Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., where he focused on compounds targeting a protein known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Hidefumi earned in his PhD in pharmaceutical science from the University of Tokyo in 2013.