The Astellas Oncology C³ Prize Competition Returns for a Second Year; Aims to Inspire and Support Innovative Ideas for Cancer Care with $100,000 in Grants 

The challenge is open to nearly anyone with a tangible, unique idea to improve cancer care

Robert Herjavec, technology entrepreneur, star of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit television show Shark Tank and former cancer caregiver, returns as a partner and advisor

TOKYO – June 20, 2017 – Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Yoshihiko Hatanaka, “Astellas”) announced today the launch of the second year of the Astellas C³ Prize, a global challenge designed to change cancer care by inspiring non-medicine innovations that may improve the lives of patients with cancer, their caregivers and their loved ones. Entries will be accepted through August 21st and five finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas live at the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Leaders’ Summit on November 13th in Mexico City.

One grand prize winner will be awarded $50,000 and a personal business consultation with Robert Herjavec, technology entrepreneur, star of ABC’s hit television show Shark Tank and former cancer caregiver. The four runners-up will receive $12,500 and all five finalists will receive a one-year membership to MATTER, a healthcare innovation community to help bring their ideas to life.

“Despite significant advances in the treatment of cancer, patients and caregivers still face significant obstacles to receiving or providing optimal care,” said Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., representative director and executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief commercial officer, Astellas. “Last year, we received more than 100 submissions from across 15 different countries, and our hope is that Astellas’ support can help bring to life bright ideas and potential solutions from anyone who is directly affected by cancer.”

“After caring for my father who recently passed away after a brave battle with head and neck cancer, it became clear to me that we should be looking beyond our treatments to support patients with cancer and their loved ones,” said Mark Reisenauer, senior vice president, oncology business unit, Astellas. “After last year’s success, I’m looking forward to seeing even more great ideas for the C³ Prize this year.”

The Astellas Oncology C³ Prize seeks submissions at in areas where patients living with cancer and the cancer community face the toughest obstacles such as: navigating the health care system, adhering to complex medical care requirements, coordinating care and surviving life post-treatment. The C³ Prize is open to eligible entrants who want to make a difference in cancer care and entrants do not need to have an established business or finished product to apply.

“The challenges my mother faced as a patient with ovarian cancer, and those that I faced as a caregiver, opened my eyes to a world that not enough people talk about,” said Robert Herjavec, technology entrepreneur and star of ABC’s Shark Tank. ”I’m proud to again support the C³ Prize in tapping into the experiences and knowledge of those like me who have been affected by cancer in creating new innovations to change cancer care.”

Diane Jooris of Brussels won the 2016 C³ Prize. She is the founder of Oncomfort™, a company that develops virtual reality modules designed to help cancer patients manage anxiety before, during and after treatment. Jooris had been searching for ways to earn funding to help her company—and dream—grow.

“The C³ Prize provided the resources needed to complete the development of a new virtual reality module, as well as invaluable exposure for our idea,” said Jooris. “Being part of the C³ Prize has been such a rewarding experience that we plan to name the new module “Stella” in honor of Astellas for making the new module possible. I encourage everyone with an idea to change cancer care to apply.”

The online application consists of answering three questions. While a short, informal video is strongly recommended, it is not a required component of the application. Entries will be evaluated based on plausibility of idea, creativity and originality of innovation, as well as the ability of the entrant to operationalize/implement the innovative idea for future application. 

See terms and conditions at for full challenge rules and eligibility. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. No entries after August, 21, 2017 at 11:59pm CST.

About Astellas
Astellas Pharma Inc., based in Tokyo, Japan, is a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. We focus on Urology, Oncology, Immunology, Nephrology and Neuroscience as prioritized therapeutic areas while advancing new therapeutic areas and discovery research leveraging new technologies/modalities. We are also creating new value by combining internal capabilities and external expertise in the medical/healthcare business. Astellas is on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. For more information, please visit our website at

About UICC
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is dedicated to taking the lead in convening, capacity building and advocacy initiatives that unite the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

Founded in 1933 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, UICC is the largest and oldest international cancer organisation. With over 1,000 members and 56 partners across 162 countries, UICC features the world’s major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes, patient groups, and industry leaders.

For more information, visit

MATTER is a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and industry leaders working together to harness technology to improve health and healthcare. MATTER connects and promotes collaboration between entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians, investors and industry leaders in order to bring next-generation products and services to market that improve quality of care and save lives. For more information, visit
Cautionary Notes
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management’s current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas’ intellectual property rights by third parties.

Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.

Contact the Media Relations team
Communications & Investor Relations
Main phone line for Media: +81-3244-3201 
Business hours (JST)
From Monday to Thursday: 8:45 am to 5:45 pm, Friday: 8:45 am to 4:00 pm
(closed on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays and company holidays)