Press Release

March 28, 2019

GHIT Fund Announces Appointment of Catherine Ohura as New CEO and Executive Director

The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) today announced the appointment of Catherine Ohura as the organization’s new CEO and Executive Director, effective April 1st, 2019. Ohura brings depth and breadth of expertise and invaluable experience working for R&D and Commercial functions. In the R&D function, Ohura worked in clinical operations, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, project management, finance/resource management, portfolio management, and governance creation/management.


“The entire GHIT Board and I are delighted to welcome Catherine Ohura, a highly qualified and experienced leader in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Hiroki Nakatani, GHIT Fund Board Chair and Representative Director. “Ohura shares with us our vision and mission and we believe she will advance global health innovation for neglected patients worldwide by leading and together with GHIT management team.


“She possesses the forward-looking vision and strong passion that is instrumental to solve global health challenges. I’m confident that under her leadership, GHIT will further expedite product development by utilizing Japan’s science and innovation in partnership with global entities to save millions of people who are suffering from neglected diseases.” said BT Slingsby, Founding CEO of the GHIT Fund.


Prior to her appointment as CEO and Executive Director of GHIT, Ohura served as the Executive Officer and Unit Head of Japan Commercial Operations & Customer Experience at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) K.K. (located in Japan). She also served as Executive Officer and Senior Director, Regional R&D Operations (responsible for Japan, China R&D Operations) at BMS K.K. At BMS (in the US), one of her roles was the Global Lead/General Manager for the BMS Network of Women (B-NOW). In this groundbreaking industry leadership role, she drove business performance at BMS globally by fostering a more powerfully diverse and broadly inclusive people and business strategy. Prior to her role at BMS, Ohura worked in Japanese pharmaceutical company for clinical development, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, pharmacovigilance, and project management.


Ohura was born and raised in Japan and has studied and worked in both Japan and the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, mathematics, and business from the University of Denver, and a master’s degree in regulatory affairs and quality assurance from Temple University School of Pharmacy. She has completed all but dissertation in the PhD program for Project Management at Capella University and is PMP (Project Management Professional) certified.


“I am truly honored to join GHIT as CEO and am excited to work with its governors, product development partners, and worldwide stakeholders in global health R&D and access” said Ohura. “Throughout my career in the pharmaceutical industry, I have always been a firm believer in the power of cross-sector partnerships as the key to advancing science and innovation. I am thrilled to lead GHIT through its next phase and advance global partnerships between Japanese and international entities. I will commit to get needed, affordable products out the door within the next couple of years and into the hands of those who need them most.”


Quotes from GHIT Funding Partners


Isao Teshirogi, Shionogi & Co., Ltd, President and CEO (Chair, The Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations of Japan)

“Ohura’s experience and expertise in the pharmaceutical industry will play pivotal role in the success of GHIT’s Phase 2.0 strategic plan. She inspires great confidence and will surely keep GHIT on the course toward achieving its ambitious goal of delivering innovative life-saving products to patients in need.”


Trevor Mundel, President, Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Catherine Ohura will further increase the value of this international public-private partnership between the philanthropic, for-profit, and government triad that differentiates GHIT from many other organizations.”


Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome

“As incoming CEO and Executive Director of GHIT, Catherine Ohura will drive health innovation by leading global collaboration. Her international background will play a pivotal role in bridging Japan and the global community to foster innovations and access for neglected patients worldwide.”


Hideo Suzuki, Ambassador, Assistant Minister for Global Issues/Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“We believe that Ms. Ohura’s leadership will advance the mission of GHIT, which plays a critical role in implementing central pillars of Japan’s foreign policy, including Human Security and Universal Health Coverage. We also expect that she will accelerate product development for neglected patients in low and middle income countries by using Japan’s cutting-edge technology and innovation.”


Chieko Ikeda, Senior Assistant Minister for Global Health, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

“Under Ohura’s leadership, we have great confidence that GHIT will continue to harness our nation’s scientific and technological strength to fulfill Japan’s responsibility to work with global stakeholders to eliminate some of the world’s neglected diseases.”