Happy Friday, readers!

Light: It’s a particle. It’s a wave. Could it also be a cancer treatment?

Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani sure thinks so. The serial entrepreneur entered the world of biotech following a devastating pancreatic cancer diagnosis for his father back in 2012. The tragedy spurred him to seek unique solutions to the cancer scourge--including a highly unusual approach called “photoimmunotherapy.”

"One of my friends called me, who was also a friend of my father"s... and said, by the way, my cousin is doing this new project, trying to cure cancer with light," Mikitani explained during a one-on-one interview at our Fortune Brainstorm Health conference on Wednesday. "I was like, this must be a joke. But I was desperate."

Mikitani’s father was eventually taken by the illness. But that didn’t stop him from evangelizing this form of cancer therapy, which involves infusing patients with an “antibody-drug conjugate” (i.e., a pairing of an antibody that makes its way to tumors and a drug that can attack said tumors), and then activating the tumor-killing process with the use of near-infrared light.

Rakuten Aspyrion already has several treatments using this photoimmunotherapy platform in both early- and late-stage clinical trials. "I was ignorant enough to bet on this one," he says of his unconventional approach.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


[email protected]


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