Our Team

“Being a disease-based company allows Akashi to build efficiencies: once we have spent the time and money to create resources, these get used over and over again. This applies to all aspects of drug development, from portfolio research and evaluation to preclinical, toxicology and clinical programs. This not only reduces the time and cost of drug development but also improves the quality of the process, as all involved become collaborators with deep experience in DMD-specific drug development.”

– Dr. Diana Escolar, Chief Medical Officer

Each member of Akashi’s executive team is a highly accomplished leader in his or her respective field. Senior members of the team have several decades of executive-level experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies across multiple disease areas, including rare pediatric diseases. Having achieved success in their careers, they bring a strong sense of commitment, purpose and compassion to their work for Akashi.

Marc B. Blaustein, CFA, MPP

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Blaustein is a 17-year biotechnology industry veteran with experience spanning executive management, product development, business development, and line function leadership. He was the founding CEO of Halo Therapeutics, now part of Akashi. Mr. Blaustein has led development efforts for two products that were approved by FDA and subsequently launched commercially, and has closed numerous deals for biotechnology products, technologies, and services. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President at Dyax Corp where he led departments including Manufacturing, Program Management, Commercial Operations, and Alliance Management. Before that, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Alkermes and Genetics Institute (now Pfizer). Mr. Blaustein holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and a B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ernest D. Bush, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Bush has spent over 28 years working in the field of biomedical R&D, most of which was spent working in preclinical safety departments for major pharmaceutical companies. From 1992 to 2005 he worked at Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. and for the last five years of that time, led their Non-Clinical Drug Safety Department. In recent years, Dr. Bush has utilized his wide experience in the evaluation and assessment of new drug candidates to help small pharmaceutical companies, non-profit patient advocacy organizations and venture funding firms review their portfolios, rank or prioritize their opportunities, then plan and execute strategies to move them forward expeditiously and cost effectively. Dr. Bush holds a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Washington, an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Oregon, and a B.A. in General Sciences from the University of Oregon.

Diana Escolar, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Escolar has applied nearly two decades of research in adult and pediatric neuromuscular diseases to help guide the development of new therapies. She has provided medical oversight and guidance for all phases of the drug discovery process as well as target identification, IND submission and clinical trial operations for various drug development firms. She is currently a member of the medical staff at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Genetic Muscle Disorders department, and an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Escolar was the co-founder and director of the Cooperative International Neuromuscular Research Group, an international consortium of academic medical centers developing and conducting target identification, translational studies and clinical studies in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and related disorders. She received her M.D. from the University of Buenos Aires, School of Medicine in Argentina and her post-graduate training from Boston University- and Harvard Medical School affiliated-programs.