MD Anderson and Rakuten Medical announce strategic alliance to advance Illuminox platform for cancer treatments

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rakuten Medical, Inc. today announced a strategic alliance collaboration agreement to advance the development of new cancer therapies based on Rakuten Medical’s proprietary IlluminoxTM technology platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rakuten Medical and MD Anderson will collaborate to conduct studies based on the Illuminox technology platform and to determine study designs, combination therapies, and target patient populations for future clinical trials. The alliance is designed to expand development of the technology and bring a novel therapeutic approach to patients with cancer, with an initial focus on those with head and neck cancers. This agreement expands upon an existing sponsored research agreement between Rakuten Medical and
MD Anderson.

“We are honored that MD Anderson has recognized the exciting potential of our Illuminox technology by entering into this strategic alliance agreement,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten Medical. “We believe our collaboration will allow us to develop novel treatments for different cancer types.  We are energized by MD Anderson’s shared optimism and conviction to bring treatments to patients in need.”

The Illuminox technology platform is based on a cancer therapy called photoimmunotherapy, developed by Dr. Hisataka Kobayashi and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute. Illuminox is a technology combining drugs and laser device systems being evaluated for the treatment of different cancers.

“The Illuminox technology represents a new form of therapy with the potential to selectively target cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissues through light-activatable antibody-dye conjugates,” said Jeffrey Myers, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Head and Neck Surgery at MD Anderson. “We are pleased to build upon our collaborative relationship with Rakuten Medical to work toward bringing investigational treatment options forward with the goal of providing the best options for our patients.”