July 27, 2021

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America and Target ALS Announce Call for Nominations for First Annual Rebecca Luker Courage Award

The Award, Named for the Broadway Star Who Died of ALS in Late 2020, Will Recognize Members of the ALS Community Who Embrace a Courageous Spirit

JERSEY CITY, N.J., July 27, 2021 – Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) and Target ALS today announced the establishment of the inaugural Target ALS Rebecca Luker Courage Award. The award will spotlight individuals who have demonstrated a courageous spirit and made a positive impact on the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) community over the past year.

Rebecca Luker, a renowned Broadway musical theater star for more than 30 years, died from complications with ALS at the age of 59 in December 2020. Luker, known by friends and fans as Becca, performed in nine Broadway shows and numerous off-Broadway productions, as well as shows across the country. Known for her clear, crystalline soprano voice, she recorded several albums. This year is the 32nd anniversary of Luker’s first major Broadway debut when she took over the role of Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera.”

“We have dedicated ourselves to a singular focus – helping patients,” said Atsushi Fujimoto, President, MTPA. “While we strive for the advancement of ALS research and treatment, we are stronger when fighting together with our advocacy partners and many members of the ALS community. We are tremendously honored to present the Target ALS Rebecca Luker Courage Award to members of the ALS community who tackle seemingly impossible challenges with a tenacious spirit.”

To honor the life and legacy of Luker, Target ALS presented “Becca” in May 2021, a musical tribute to benefit ALS research, with support from MTPA.

“Because Rebecca’s story and courageous spirit resonates with so many, we, together with MTPA, were inspired to celebrate individuals making a difference in the fight against ALS,” said Manish Raisinghani, MBBS, Ph.D., CEO of Target ALS. “We look forward to receiving entries and reading who the ALS community feels is deserving of this award. There are so many individuals making a difference, we look forward to seeing the nominations.”

In addition to the main Courage Award, there also will be an “Unsung Hero” category and up to three “Awards of Recognition.”

During the months of July, August and September, community members can nominate individuals for the Rebecca Luker Courage Award by visiting www.TargetALS.org. A five-person selection committee, made up of members of the Broadway and ALS community, will review nominations based on predetermined selection criteria and alignment with the principles of the Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem, which has revolutionized the ALS research landscape since 2013. Specifically, these criteria will include:

  • Innovation: Does this person have a unique approach to the fight against ALS and/or have they contributed something new?
  • Collaboration: Has this person’s approach rallied others to join them and has that collaboration enhanced the outcome of their efforts?
  • Impact: Has this person’s efforts had a significant impact, reaching or exceeding a particular goal?
  • Reach: Has their work influenced many people and/or a significant portion of their target audiences?

Nominations will close on September 30, 2021 and winners will be announced in Fall 2021.

“I’m extremely proud that Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America and Target ALS chose to honor Rebecca with an award that recognizes individuals who are making a real difference in the lives of families affected by ALS,” said Danny Burstein, Luker’s husband and seven-time Tony award nominee. “Rebecca did everything she could while she was with us to raise awareness of ALS and funds for a cure. While we are heartbroken that the proper therapies and a cure weren’t discovered in time for Rebecca, knowing her legacy of advocacy will be honored this way brings great solace to our family.”

About Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc.
Based in Jersey City, N.J., Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation’s (MTPC) 100 percent owned U.S. holding company, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Holdings America, Inc. It was established by MTPC to commercialize approved pharmaceutical products in North America. For more information, please visit www.mt-pharma-america.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC), founded in 1678, is one of the oldest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Focused on ethical pharmaceuticals, MTPC is headquartered in Doshomachi, Osaka, the birthplace of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry. In light of the anticipated changes in healthcare needs in the future, MTPC is advancing business activities under the mission of “Creating hope for all facing illness,” and has set the corporate vision for 2030 (VISION 30) to “Be a healthcare company that delivers optimal therapy to each individual.” As part of the vision for 2030, MTPC is prioritizing work on “precision medicine” to create effective therapies and preventive methods by identifying patient populations with high potential for efficacy and safety, focusing on the disease areas of central nervous system and immuno-inflammation. In addition, MTPC is working to develop “around the pill solutions” to address specific patient concerns based on therapeutic medicine, including prevention of diseases, pre-symptomatic disease care, prevention of aggravation and prognosis. MTPC is a member of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group. For more information, go to https://www.mt-pharma.co.jp/e/.

About Target ALS
Target ALS is a 501(c)(3) medical research foundation committed to the search for effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We envision a world in which no one dies of ALS, and we play a unique role in the battle against this disease. Founded in 2013 by former New York City deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff — who lost both his father and uncle to ALS — our approach is breaking down barriers and silos that have historically inhibited research results. We do this through our Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem, which facilitates unparalleled collaboration between researchers from academia and the pharma/biotech industry. The Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem has revolutionized the field in just seven years through collaborations that have resulted in the first potential treatments since ALS was identified in 1869.

Media inquiries:
Debbie Etchison

Target ALS Media Inquiries:
Steve Schonberg