Staff Interview
Always be a pioneer

Kio Yamabe, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Ayaharu Moriwaki
Associate Director, HR & Office Management
A Fun Place to Work

Yamabe:The GHIT Fund was established as a new form of international public-private partnership, with a mission of harnessing Japanese science and drug discovery technologies to transform global health. Looking through the lens of my more than 30-year involvement in the medical industry, it is clear that everything about GHIT, including our members and business model, represents a new way of doing things. In this way, each day brings new discoveries, as well as a series of new challenges.

Moriwaki:It is an honor and pleasure to have an opportunity to work with stakeholders and researchers from Japan and overseas, as well as with the staff here at GHIT, to help realize our shared vision of global health. Each individual has his or her own set of goals and a unique path toward their achievement; our sincere collaboration accelerates those journeys, and makes me look forward to coming into the office every day.

Yamabe:Unless you enjoy your work, it is difficult to use your skills to make a difference. That is why I always try to make GHIT a fun place to work.

Our Staff’s Individuality is a Key Strength

Moriwaki:Our management team may be small in number, but it is vast in terms of skills and experience. Given the team’s different background, nationality, and ethnicity, each member brings different strengths and diversity of experience to the table. While each person takes on a great workload and a wide variety of tasks, all members are engaged in managing the company as a team, leveraging our individual knowledge, experience, and strengths across departmental lines.

While carrying out the business of GHIT, we also have ample opportunities to communicate with stakeholders and researchers, both domestic and international. Our staff members’ ability to express their intentions clearly, accurately, and respectfully is an important strength for the organization. Making a big impact requires contributions from a large number of people, which necessitates diplomacy and communication skills.

Yamabe:Since we work with a wide range of stakeholders, it can be challenging to make progress while building consensus, but our employees are addressing this challenge with a positive attitude. I am proud to say that over the past five years, our steady efforts have built solid relationships of trust with partners across sectors and borders. We will work hard to continue to strengthen these connections.

Another invigorating quality of our staff is passion and enthusiasm for learning. My colleagues’ passion inspires me to work harder; I think we all re-inspire one another daily. Many of our talented employees have a wealth of international experience, and although the atmosphere here is not overly formal, all our employees see themselves as consummate professionals. As a result, there is also a productive self-imposed tension between responsibility and flexibility in the air.

GHIT is a global health R&D leader in Japan, and we have opened the doors to new forms of collaboration with our stakeholders. I hope that our staff members will always remember that they are one of the pioneers behind this development.

Moriwaki:It is fair to say that the GHIT team is an innovative group. We want our team members to maintain their enthusiasm for constantly innovating and continuously creating new value.

Producing Health Leaders

Yamabe:I hope that, in the future, our employees will go on to become global health and healthcare industry leaders. Of course, part of me wants them to work here at GHIT forever, but I also want each employee to lead a wonderful life. I look forward to supporting all their careers—at GHIT and beyond. I hope that they will learn and experience lots of things while they are here to help maximize their potential.

Moriwaki:I want my colleagues to continue striving to create new world-class value based on what they have learned through GHIT, regardless of their next occupation or industry. In fact, I think our staff members consider their time in the office not simply as time spent working, but as an investment on the road to self-discovery. As Mr. Yamabe mentioned, we encourage our employees to pursue their own journeys beyond GHIT. We would be happy if they return to GHIT in the future to make an even greater impact, after having taken on other challenges and having grown through those experiences.

However, there are plenty of opportunities here for people to experience more professional growth than they can imagine, so I hope that people with all kinds of backgrounds will want to take on the challenge of working here at GHIT, not only those who want to contribute to global health.

To Imagine the Same Future

Yamabe:Although our staff members have diverse backgrounds and unique personalities and goals, we all share a similar goal; namely, a common desire to help improve people’s health across the globe.

Moriwaki:To continue creating value through our daily actions, we have established a set of 12 GHIT Values, which articulate the mindset with which our employees ideally approach their work. These values were compiled spontaneously by the staff and constitute a kind of cultural DNA for the institution. To encourage each member of staff to understand these on a deeper level, we launched an initiative called the GHIT Values Promotion Program. Focusing on one of the 12 GHIT Values each week, we use “recognition cards” to write messages to colleagues who have exhibited behaviors that demonstrate to these values.

Yamabe:By recognizing our colleagues’ contributions, we can learn from, encourage, and inspire one another. The result is that our small group becomes even more highly skilled while also becoming more close-knit, and thus our broader impact increases. In addition, we try to encourage our colleagues’ independence, proactiveness, and ambition; these are healthy qualities that can motivate and inspire our whole team to reach greater heights. If a colleague has a specific project that he or she wishes to pursue, our Management Team tries to support this, even when the project may cross departmental lines.

A Leading Global Health Organization

Yamabe:By functioning as a hub that connects Japanese businesses and research institutes to global counterparts, I believe that GHIT will play an important role in addressing global poverty. I want GHIT to be a place where people build unprecedented interpersonal connections across sectors and borders, where our common vision for global health R&D outshines our differences and truly transforms the world and what humankind can achieve. This is about more than simply developing and delivering medicines.

Regarding GHIT"s future, sustainable approaches and impact are critical. I hope there will come a day when our work is widely recognized, and the name GHIT is cited as an example in future discussions of health care.


Kio Yamabe, MBA
Chief Operating Officer

Kio Yamabe is Chief Operating Officer at the GHIT Fund, where he leads operations, human resources, legal and compliance, and also oversees finance and investment. Mr. Yamabe has more than 25 years of management experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, including as President and Country Manager of Carestream Health and CSL Behring. He has lived and worked in Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including as Head of International Business at Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., where he led the launch of UNIQLO stores in London. He received his MBA from IMD in Switzerland and a BS from Seinan Gakuin University in Japan.

Ayaharu Moriwaki
Associate Director, HR & Office Management

Ayaharu Moriwaki is Senior Manager of Corporate Planning, focusing on accounting, human resources, legal affairs, internal control, and compliance. He current focus is on increasing organizational effectiveness and efficiency in partnership with GHIT’s COO. Prior to joining GHIT, he worked for six and a half years in accounting and management at Sharp Corporation, where he actively participated in the company’s CSR program. In that program, he worked as an environmental education teacher at an elementary school for six years. Mr. Moriwaki earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the Senshu University School of Commerce.

Staff Story

GHIT staff members with a variety background discuss their experience in and passion for global health R&D, as well as their day-to-day work.

Kei Katsuno, MD, MPH

Senior Director
Investment Strategy &
Government Relations

Mina Ohata

Investment Strategy
Planning & Management

Hironobu Itabashi

Associate Manager
Investment Strategy &
Government Relations

Isaac T. Chikwanha, MBChB, MPH

Senior Director
Investment Strategy,
Access & Delivery