SAN MATEO, Calif., Aug. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Rakuten Medical, Inc. today announced that it has appointed Nitin Nohria and Hiroshi Takasawa to the company’s board of directors. Dr. Nohria will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. These appointments reflect the company’s commitment to ensuring a broad mix of skills and perspectives on the board to help the company develop and bring to market cancer treatments developed on the Illuminox™ platform.
"In addition to our previously announced $166 million Series D funding round, we are also pleased to welcome Nitin and Hiroshi, two highly accomplished leaders, to our board. Dr. Nohria brings a wealth of experience and deep knowledge to Rakuten Medical having steered Harvard Business School as the tenth Dean of the School over a 10-year period until 2020, and Hiroshi’s strong leadership skills and keen business insights across a variety of fields are essential to the future of Rakuten Medical," commented Mickey Mikitani, Chief Executive Officer of Rakuten Medical, Inc. "Through the addition of Nitin and Hiroshi, I’m sure that Rakuten Medical will be even better positioned to fulfill our mission of conquering cancer by accelerating our pipeline, enhancing corporate governance, and driving further growth."
"It’s an honor to join the Rakuten Medical team," said Nitin Nohria, Rakuten Medical’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors. "Rakuten Medical’s Illuminox platform has the potential to change the paradigm of treating cancer patients. Together with our board of directors, employees, and stakeholders, we will continue making positive changes to the cancer community by advancing our pipeline."
- Nitin Nohria, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rakuten Medical
Nitin Nohria served as the tenth dean of Harvard Business School from 2010-2020. He previously served as co-chair of the school’s Leadership Initiative, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Development, and Head of the Organizational Behavior Unit. He is currently Chair of the Harvard Allston Land Company board of directors. He sits on the Board of Directors of Bridgespan and on the Board of Trustees of Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also a strategic advisor to the Board of Anheuser-Busch InBev. In addition, he serves as a senior advisor to BDT Capital Partners, FCLT Global, Piramal Enterprises, and Tata Sons (where he served on the Board of Directors for 6 years). His intellectual interests center on human motivation, leadership, corporate transformation and accountability, and sustainable economic and human performance. He is co-author or co-editor of 16 books and over 70 journal articles, book chapters, and cases. He has been interviewed by ABC, CNN, and NPR, and cited in Business Week, The Economist, Financial Times, Fortune, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Prior to joining the Harvard Business School faculty, Nohria received his Ph.D. in Management from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (which honored him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2007).
- Hiroshi Takasawa, member of Board of Directors, Rakuten Medical
Hiroshi Takasawa is CEO of Rakuten Asia, President of Rakuten’s Investment and Incubation Company, and is responsible for Rakuten Capital, managing various investment funds including Rakuten Ventures, Rakuten FinTech Fund, Rakuten Global EC Fund and the company’s mobility investments. He joined Rakuten in 2005 and established Rakuten Strategic Partners, a private equity investment platform under which he actively engaged in venture investments, buyout investments and other transactions. He has contributed to many of Rakuten’s merger and acquisition deals and post-merger integration processes, primarily in financial services.
Takasawa has also held a number of executive positions, including President of Rakuten Securities Holdings, Chairman of Rakuten Investment Management and President of Rakuten Life Insurance. He serves as a member of the board of directors of various investments including Source Next, Money Partners, and others.
Prior to joining Rakuten, Takasawa worked at Nomura Securities (Tokyo) and Nomura Securities International in New York where he was involved in the supervision of various securitization, mortgage derivative structuring, and fund management activities. At GMAC Commercial Mortgage Japan he served as CFO, managed overall financial operations, and was involved in mortgage loan, real estate equity, and distressed asset businesses. He is a member of the Japanese Association of Turnaround Professionals. Takasawa holds a bachelor of Business Administration from Aoyama Gakuin University in Japan.
About Rakuten Medical, Inc.
Rakuten Medical, Inc. is a global clinical stage biotechnology company developing and commercializing precision, cell-targeting investigational therapies on its IlluminoxTM 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.
Since 2013, Rakuten Medical, Inc. has been using an exclusively licensed antibody complex to develop new cancer therapies based on its IlluminoxTM technology platform. Rakuten Medical’s first pipeline drug developed using its Illuminox platform is ASP-1929, an antibody-dye conjugate comprised of the antibody cetuximab and IRDye® 700DX, a light activatable dye. ASP-1929 binds to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), a cancer antigen expressed in multiple types of solid tumors, including head and neck, cutaneous, esophageal, lung, colon and pancreatic cancers. After binding to cancer cells, ASP-1929 is locally activated by non-thermal red light (690 nm) illumination emitted by an laser device system. Pre-clinical data indicates that Illuminox technology induces a biophysical process that compromises cell membrane integrity, leading to cancer cell death and tumor necrosis. ASP-1929 received conditional early approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in September 2020, and is currently under investigation in a global phase 3 clinical trial for recurrent head and neck cancer. Rakuten Medical, Inc. is moving forward with product development by conducting clinical trials of monotherapy and combination therapy with other drugs. Outside of Japan, ASP-1929 and the laser device system have not yet been approved by any regulatory authority.
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 press release 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 our products, including ASP-1929, the Illuminox platform and IRDye® 700DX, as well as other regulatory and marketing authorization efforts, the potential benefits, efficacy, and safety of ASP-1929 and other therapies created using the Illuminox platform, and the status of regulatory filings. The approval and commercial success of such therapies may not be achieved, and the results and effects shown in pre-clinical studies and data may not be replicated in clinical trials. Such statements may include words such as "expect," "believe," "hope," "estimate," "looks as though," "anticipate," "intend," "may," "suggest," "plan," "strategy," "will," "hopeful," "excited," "do," "aims," "develop" and similar expressions. 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 press release uses terms such as "immune activation," "important," "notable," and "abnormal" to express opinions about clinical trial data. Ongoing clinical trial studies include various risks and uncertainties, in particular, problems that arise during the manufacturing stage of ASP-1929 or other product candidates, the occurrence of adverse safety events, situations in failure to demonstrate therapeutic benefits, and other various risks and uncertainties, both reasonable and unreasonable. For this reason, actual results, including regulatory approvals and uncertainties in the commercialization process of ASP-1929 or other product candidates, 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.
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SOURCE Rakuten Medical, Inc.