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Alumni Profile

Takashi Kiyoizumi

Takashi Kiyoizumi, MD, PhD, SM ’91

Founder and former CEO and president of MediciNova, Inc.

Takashi Kiyoizumi had more experience in an operating room than a board room when he first came to MIT Sloan. A physician in Tokyo, Kiyoizumi specialized in reconstructive surgery. He enjoyed the systematic process of diagnosing his patients and their treatment; however, as an analytical thinker, he did not agree with the disorganized manner in which the hospitals were managed at that time. Eager to bring the management principles of the business world to the non-profit industry of healthcare, Kiyoizumi applied to MIT Sloan.

Kiyoizumi learned how to improve healthcare management practices while at the School, but he was also amazed by the many other businesses flourishing in Kendall Square. “It was intriguing to be in Cambridge in the early '90s when many biotech companies were sprouting,” he explains. “I was inspired to see people investing money into these companies that had no physical product. They were creating a new business model around intellectual properties.”

During the summer of 1990, Kiyoizumi landed an internship at a local biotech company, ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp. After many years working in hospitals, he was skeptical that he would enjoy working for a corporation, until he discovered that small biotech firms were about 90 percent scientists and 10 percent business executives. Kiyoizumi enjoyed the fast-paced environment and close contact with topnotch physicians and state-of-the-art medicine. He also appreciated the ability to work side by side with its CEO. After graduation, instead of returning to the healthcare industry in Japan, Kiyoizumi became a manager for ImmuLogic. By 2000, he had established himself as a strong player in the industry, taking a position at another biotech firm, Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly known as Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc.) in Lexington, where he served as a senior vice president.

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