At the inaugural program of the 22nd National Conference of Foundation for Head and Neck Oncology (FHNO2022) held on November 4 in Guwahati, Assam in northeastern India, Mickey Mikitani, Co-CEO of Rakuten Medical, Inc. delivered a keynote speech titled “Contributing to the World through Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
In his keynote speech, Mickey said, “I was keenly aware of how high the unmet medical need for head and neck cancer treatment is in India when I had the opportunity to exchange views with leading Indian medical professionals this September. We will accelerate the development of the Alluminox™ platform in India so that our treatment can make even a small contribution to “conquering cancer” for patients and their families in India.”
Head and neck cancer is very common in India, constituting 26% of all head and neck cancer worldwide1 and 30% of all cancers in India2. One of the reasons for this is the widespread use of tobacco across India. 29% of all adults (15 years and above) in India are users of tobacco3. Another challenge is the high mortality of head and neck cancer in India due to patients presenting late with more advanced stage disease4. Such high volumes of advanced stage patients can present many challenges for the surgeons and medical oncologists who treat head and neck cancer. Time and treatment options are limited. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all commonly used to manage this patient population – but more options are needed.
With a desire to transform this cancer treatment landscape, Rakuten Medical has been developing its business in India since 2021. Aiming to accelerate the development and commercialization of treatments based on its proprietary Alluminox™ platform in the country, Rakuten Medical established a local entity Rakuten Medical Private Limited (Rakuten Medical India) this April. This September, Mickey visited some prestigious medical institutions in India and exchanged views with prominent medical professionals on the current status and future development of cancer treatment, including head and neck cancer. His keynote speech at FHNO2022 was made possible by the high interest in the Rakuten Medical’s technology in the Indian medical community. Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi also spoke at the inaugural program, explaining the importance of addressing cancer and the government’s efforts.
Approximately 500 head and neck cancer specialists and other healthcare professionals attended FHNO2022, which was held over three days from November 4 to 6. Rakuten Medical also had a booth at the conference and exchanged opinions with many participants. In addition, a new video about the Alluminox™ platform was premiered at FHNO2022 and played during Mickey’s keynote speech and at the company’s booth. The video introduces Rakuten Medical’s vision to develop Alluminox treatment as the 5th pillar of cancer treatment globally.
* Rakuten Medical’s therapies based on Alluminox™ platform are investigational outside of Japan, and not approved in India for investigational or commercial use.
1 J Ferlay, M Ervik, F Lam, et al, eds. Global Cancer Observatory: Cancer Today. International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2020. Accessed, August 23, 2022. http://gco.iarc.fr/today
2 Kulkarni MR. Head and Neck Cancer Burden in India. Int J Head and Neck Surg 2013;4(1):29-35
3 WHO: https://www.who.int/india/health-topics/tobacco
4 Chaturvedi P. Head and neck surgery. J Can Res Ther 2009;5:143