Women in STEM: Lauren Otsuki
Meet the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Ourself.
Behind every great idea is a brilliant thinker, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t give proper dues to the many, many women out there whose insights, willpower, and sheer genius advances our society. It’s with this in mind that we welcome you to the first of our Women In STEM series where we’ll be profiling some of the best and brightest women in the field. First up is Ourself co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Lauren Otsuki, a trailblazer in both science in business, and also a genuinely great human.
It would take only the quickest of glances at Lauren Otsuki’s resume to establish one thing: she is one incredibly impressive woman. A biochemist by training, Otsuki paved her way through the ranks of (and founded) some of the most impressive and innovative biotech research companies in the world before applying her pioneering talent to aesthetic and cosmetic pursuits.
Much of Otsuki’s career has been focused on biomedical research, primarily in the arena of cardiovascular, diabetes, and cancer therapies, where she has, unsurprisingly, made a significant mark.
“I was a founder of Oncternal Therapeutics, where I was responsible for the development of their small molecule TK-216 which is [a treatment] currently in Phase 2 studies for Ewing Sarcoma, a debilitating solid tumor seen primarily in high school and college-age kids,” she explains. During her tenure at Oncternal Therapeutics, she was also responsible for the development of the ROR-1 compound, a critical target in the treatment of certain kinds of leukemia and lymphoma. And if that isn’t impressive enough, Otsuki also managed to scale up and develop the ROR-1 compound for therapeutic use, selling it to Merck Pharmaceuticals for $2.75 million in less than four years.
Otsuki then went on to become the founder and Vice President at Dexcom, a leading innovator in diabetes treatment and management. While there, she worked on miniaturizing an implantable glucose sensor and created “continuous glucose monitoring”, which for the less scientifically-inclined, means that she created the diabetes treatment that’s now been the leading technology for over 20 years.
And while you might be thinking, “surely founding two groundbreaking biotechnology companies and taking them public is enough to satisfy anyone,” you’d be wrong. Otsuki founded two other companies—an ultra-successful biotech company called Prometheus BioSciences, where she once again developed next-generation treatments for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; and NovaCardia, a novel cardiovascular therapeutic company.
It was in 2015 that she decided to make the leap into skincare, applying her decades of biotechnology and management experience to a new venture called Alastin Skincare, where she broke the industry mold once again by applying biotech to skincare, creating an entirely new category of treatments and entirely new level of results.
After selling Alastin, Otsuki set her sights on the question that many in the skincare world had dismissed as impossible: Can clinical-level results truly be achieved with in-home treatments? With this query in mind, she established a new company, GLO Pharma, and developed first-of-its-kind technology that provided a topical, non-invasive, in-home alternative to clinical treatments.
This mountain of achievements lead Otsuki to her latest venture, Ourself, where she applies her unmatched genius to set a new standard in skincare. Visit our science page to take a deeper dive into the technology that fuels Ourself skincare solutions.