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Meet the Team

Corporate Development Team

The Upsher-Smith Corporate Development team has nearly a century’s worth of professional experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more about them.

Mike McBride

Mike McBride

Vice President, Partner Relations

As Vice President, Partner Relations, Mike McBride leads the company’s efforts to grow its relationships across key customers, suppliers and business partners. His responsibilities include establishing and growing relationships with chain, wholesale and other targeted business partners, and increasing the value of targeted business partnerships to support the company’s new product development, acquisition and trade objectives.

During his more than 25-year tenure at Upsher-Smith, as the company added brand pharmaceutical products to its generic portfolio, Mike helped launch and establish new Consumer Products, Managed Markets and Institutional sales teams and shape the vision for the company’s Partner Relations efforts.

While at Upsher-Smith, Mike has helped launch and grow diverse specialty product lines including several consumer brands and generic products.

Mike holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin—LaCrosse.

Arun Nataraj

Arun Nataraj

Vice President, Corporate Development

As Vice President for Corporate Development, Arun Nataraj is actively involved in shaping the Upsher-Smith’s long-term strategy and growing the company’s portfolio of products through strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

Prior to his arrival at Upsher-Smith, Arun spent more than 20 years in various commercial roles at contract manufacturing organizations and pharmaceutical companies. During his career, Arun has been involved with a wide variety of transactions, including M&A deals, product licensing, technology platforms, manufacturing agreements for products and devices, and commercial distribution agreements.

Arun has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center and an MBA from Cornell University.

Lori M. Freese

Lori M. Freese

Senior Director of Corporate Development and Portfolio Strategy

As Senior Director of Corporate Development and Portfolio Strategy, Lori is responsible for representing Upsher-Smith to prospective business partners and for leading the evaluation and selection of new products to add to Upsher-Smith’s development portfolio.

Lori began her career as a practicing pharmacist, working in both the hospital and long-term care settings for 3 years prior to joining the Drug Information Department at Upsher-Smith in 1993. Lori assumed a leadership role for the Drug Information Department in 1995, with responsibility for directing the communication with patients and healthcare professionals regarding Upsher-Smith’s products. Lori’s role soon was expanded and she was promoted to Corporate Development Director.

Lori holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota, maintains an active pharmacy license in the state of Minnesota and received her Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP) certification in 2012.


Tatsufumi Hiramatsu

VP Corporate Strategy

As VP of Corporate Strategy, Tatsufumi is responsible for creating and implementing medium-term management plans and business strategies. He is also involved in corporate development activities of Upsher-Smith.

Tatsufumi joined Sawai Pharmaceutical originally as a member of the Legal and Compliance Department in 2013. He was later appointed Specialist in the Corporate Strategy Department, where he was involved in negotiating and executing M&A and licensing projects, and eventually managing integration business with Upsher-Smith.

Tatsufumi holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Graduate School of Law and Politics of University of Tokyo (2008) and a PhD from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Tokyo (2005).

Ken Utecht

Ken Utecht

Corporate Development Director

As Corporate Development Director, Ken evaluates opportunities for co-developing, licensing, and acquiring new products for the Upsher-Smith pipeline, and shepherds promising products from concept to commercial readiness.

Ken started his career at DuPont-Merck Pharmaceuticals, developing generics as a formulation scientist.  In 1997, he joined Endo Pharmaceuticals where he assumed positions of increasing responsibility in project management, eventually becoming Senior Director for Generics R&D Business Management at Qualitest (now Par), an Endo International PLC company.  Ken joined Upsher-Smith in 2016 as an ANDA Development Lead.

Ken holds a B.S. in Chemistry from SUNY Stonybrook and an MBA from Adelphi University.


Akihiro Hamanaka

Corporate Development, Senior Manager

As Corporate Development Sr. Manager, Aki is responsible for the evaluation and selection of new in-licensing opportunities and new acquisition opportunities to add new products to drive sustainable growth to Upsher-Smith.

Aki began his career as a finance/risk management specialist in Sumitomo Corporation, which is a Japanese conglomerate company based in Tokyo. In 2012, he moved to Singapore to work with Sumitomo Corp. of Asia & Oceania and engaged in evaluating various businesses in Asia. In 2018, he joined Upsher-Smith as Corporate Development Sr. Manager.

Aki holds a B.S in Economics from Keio University and a Finance MBA from Waseda University.