Takashi Toraishi Discusses Advances, Opportunities for Immune Therapies
President Takashi Toraishi represented Rakuten Medical at the J.P. Morgan Global Healthcare Conference, Shanghai Forum – held on October 12-13 as part of the Shanghai Government’s International Biopharma Industry Week Shanghai 2021. Toraishi was a key participant in a themed panel discussion focusing on the advancement and future of immune therapies.
The session “The Expanding Scope of Immune Therapies: Advances and Opportunities”, focused on the growing importance of combination therapies – a trend driven by the greater emphasis on commercialization. With scores of biopharma companies now pursuing PD-1 monotherapies in this segment, investors are shifting their attention to innovative companies that are considering ways of moving beyond checkpoint inhibitors and other monotherapies to pursue patient treatments that make use of new technologies and platforms.
Against this background, Toraishi explained Rakuten Medical’s Illuminox™ platform for the development of new cancer therapeutics and its unique position in the immune-oncology sector – the combination of a drug and device, wherein the drug is comprised of a tumor-targeted antibody conjugated with a light-activatable dye, which when activated with non-thermal light, “has the potential for rapid and selective cell killing with minimal effects on surrounding normal tissue, as well as potential for local and systemic induction of innate and adaptive immunity”.
Addressing the core issue for this session – the challenge to develop new therapies based on immune therapy– Toraishi described how Rakuten Medical continues to evaluate opportunities to apply its technology and innovation to research applications in cancer immunity and vaccination.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that when it comes to health issues, the world is borderless. The same is true for innovation. Innovation needs to be capitalized – and this is a global-scale challenge. Said Toraishi: “Rakuten Medical has received commercial approval in Japan for unresectable locally advanced or recurrent head and neck cancer and now looks to partnership and expansion into China and other parts of Asia. In every case, we are looking for the best combination for patients.”
Which companies will succeed in making major advances in terms of safety and efficacy remains to be seen, but expectations are that the market leaders will become apparent in the next three to five years.
About Rakuten Medical, Inc.
Rakuten Medical, Inc. is a global clinical stage biotechnology company developing and commercializing precision, cell-targeting investigational therapies on its Illuminox™ platform, which, in pre-clinical studies have been shown to induce rapid and selective cell killing and tumor necrosis. Outside of Japan, Illuminox™ therapies have not yet been approved as safe or effective by any regulatory authority. The company’s first drug developed on the Illuminox™ platform, ASP-1929, has received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and is currently the subject of a global phase 3 clinical trial for recurrent head and neck cancer. Rakuten Medical is committed to its mission to conquer cancer and aims to realize a society where cancer patients can lead fulfilling lives. The company has 6 locations in 5 countries, including the United States, where it is headquartered, Japan, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Switzerland. For more information, visit www.rakuten-med.com.
About Illuminox™ platform
The Illuminox™ platform is an investigational platform based on a cancer therapy called photoimmunotherapy, which was developed by Dr. Hisataka Kobayashi and team from the National Cancer Institute in the United States. Rakuten Medical is developing the Illuminox™ platform as a technology consisting of a drug, device, and other related components. The drug component of the platform consists of a targeting moiety conjugated with one or more dyes leading to selective cell surface binding. The device component consists of a light source that locally illuminates the targeted cells with non-thermal light to transiently activate the drug. Pre-clinical data have shown that this activation elicits rapid and selective necrosis of targeted cells through a biophysical process that compromises the membrane integrity of the targeted cells. Therapies developed on Illuminox™ may also result in local and systemic innate and adaptive immune activation due to immunogenic cell death of the targeted cells and/or the removal of immunosuppressive elements within the microenvironment. Outside of Japan, Illuminox™ therapies have not yet been approved as safe or effective by any regulatory authority.
Forward Looking Statements
This Rakuten Medical Story contains forward looking statements that correspond to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include various risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that may cause Rakuten Medical’s business plans and results to differ from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in these statements. These “forward looking statements” contain information about the status and development of Rakuten Medical products, including, the Illuminox™ platform. The approval and commercial success of Rakuten Medical therapies may not be achieved, and the results and effects shown in pre-clinical studies and data may not be replicated in clinical trials. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Such forward-looking statements are based upon Rakuten Medical’s current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions regarding the future of its business, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of Rakuten Medical’s control. Rakuten Medical’s actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. In addition, this story uses terms such as “innate,” “cancer immunity,” “vaccine,” “immune activation,” to express opinions about clinical trial data and current research. Ongoing clinical trial studies and pre-clinical and clinical research include various risks and uncertainties. For this reason, actual results may differ from published information. Except to the extent required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update this or any other forward-looking statement, whether because of new information, future developments or events, changes in assumptions, changes in the factors affecting forward-looking statements. If one or more forward-looking statement(s) is updated, no inference should be drawn that additional updates will be made to those or other forward-looking statements.