Scientist Couple Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno Are New Owners of Evermay
Ryuji Ueno and his wife, Sachiko Kuno, founders of Bethesda-based Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and S&R Technology Holdings, have purchased Evermay, for $22 million, 55 percent off its 2008 asking price of $49 million. The purchase price of the historic 3.5-acre estate on 28th Street, which borders Oak Hill Cemetery at R Street, is a record sale for D.C.
The names of the new Evermay owners were first reported in the Wall Street Journal on July 22 in its “Private Properties” section. The buyers’ representative Mark McFadden of Washington Fine Properties spoke with the Georgetowner and confirmed that, indeed, Ueno and Kuno are the new owners of the 12,000-square-foot house and grounds, adding that they will continue the preservation of the estate, founded by Samuel Davidson in 1792 and sold by the Belin family two weeks ago, through a limited-liability company, Evermay LLC. The listing agent was Jeanne Livingston of Long and Foster, a Christie's International Real Estate affiliate, whose other big sale was Katharine Graham's estate on R Street. Livingston said the new owners would be “good stewards” of Evermay, a property which was once rumored to have caught the interest of Oprah Winfrey.
While the Japanese-born drug researchers Ueno and Kuno – who own a house on P Street – are not well known to most Washingtonians, they are known in philanthropic circles, such as the Washington Opera and the Smithsonian. The couple founded the S&R Foundation in 2000, a non-profit whose mission is to encourage and stimulate scientific research and artistic endeavors among young individuals – and “to recognize talented young scientists and artists for their distinguished work in fields of science and fine arts, especially those who contribute to U.S.-Japanese understanding.” Their foundation awards the S&R Washington Award and the S&R Ueno Award.
Ueno and Kuno's Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, focuses on the development and commercialization of medicines based on prostones. Ueno, who is also a medical doctor, discovered “the therapeutic potential of prostones, which are bio-lipids that occur naturally in the human body.” The company markets the drug Amitiza for gastrointestinal disorders. One of the couple's first successes was Rescula eye drops, the first bioactive lipid used to treat glaucoma.
Together, the accomplished couple holds several degrees from universities in Japan and the U.S. and have other interests as well. A Class A race car driver, Ueno is a member of the Leica Historical Society of America, Ferrari Club of America and Miles River Yacht Club. Involved in fundraising for the Washington Opera, Kuno was also cited by the Washington Business Journal two years ago in its list, “Women Who Mean Business.” She even studied in the neighborhood at Georgetown University’s International Business Management Certificate Program. Add to their resumes: “Keepers of Evermay.”