Collaborative ScienceTakeda’s stellar track record is mainly thanks to its dedication to science. With cutting-edge labs and facilities that conform to industry-leading standards and best practices; scientific research, innovation, and problem-solving have all been the guiding principles of the scientists and doctors hard at work here. It’s not rare for Takeda’s publications to be featured in leading medical journals. As an example, their Phase 4 Vedolizumab Study in Patients with Chronic Pouchitis was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. There is no shortage of research bandwidth in Takeda Pharmaceuticals—And that’s precisely what makes it one of the most committed science-oriented medical R&D labs in Japan.
In Takeda’s own words, “Another drug is not the goal.”Whereas pharmaceutical companies have been all about pushing out the next drug to ramp up their revenue, Takeda has taken a more noble and dignified approach. Takeda’s goal is to “develop life-transforming therapies for patients.” And they go on to explain how every medicine or treatment that they develop starts with a spark of inspiration as a solution to a current problem and goes on to become an idea capturing the firm’s collective imagination—Effectively pushing them to think bigger and outside the box. Collaboration and thinking collectively are both core tenets followed by all teams, labs, and departments in Takeda. Their unified approach solves challenges faster. As an organization that’s not bothered by maximizing its revenue per sq. ft., which often leads to cutthroat in-house competition generally appreciated in modern capitalism, Takeda’s approach to working together yields results that are better for the patients and the world, if not the best for the company’s balance sheet. When science is your life’s work, you don’t go after the money. You go after the best solution to help others. Driven by that same zeal toward science, the specialized teams at Takeda have always put their life’s work to help others before commercial gain or ornamental success.
Reliable MedicationAny pharmaceutical company is only as good as the efficacy of its primary medicines and treatments. That all depends on the formula and how well it was researched. Takeda has many noteworthy medicines and registered drugs that allow it to punch above its weight and compete in hot markets against regional and global stalwarts. When it comes to formulating new products, medicines, and treatments, Takeda’s focus remains to be reliability and safety. For example, Takeda manufactures Actovegin—A filtered extract from calf blood that enhances aerobic oxidation, improving the absorption of glucose and increasing the oxygen uptake in tissues, thereby enhancing physical performance and stamina. Actovegin has anti-aging, anti-oxidation, blood health, brain and memory, and metabolism-related benefits apart from endurance and physical performance enhancement. It’s been used by professional athletes and cyclists.
Takeda in RussiaTakeda manufactures Actovegin in its plant in Russia. This is mainly for the Russian market but can be purchased at some other places as well. Takeda’s Actovegin comes in two forms, as a tablet and as ampoules (solution for injections). Takeda has a manufacturing plant located 280km away from Moscow, Russia. The plant commenced its first phase of commercial production in September 2013. Built at a cost of €75m ($97.4m), the facility produces liquid sterile products such as ampoules and vials, as well as solid medicines like tablets. Notably, the plant manufactures not only Actovegin but also cardiomagnyl and calcium tablets, specifically for the Russian medical market. Takeda’s expansion into the Russian market was facilitated by its acquisition of Nycomed, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, in 2011 for €9.6bn ($13bn). The establishment of the Yaroslavl facility allowed Takeda to have a direct presence in the Russian pharmaceutical market. By producing Actovegin, cardiomagnyl, aspirin, and calcium tablets in the Yaroslavl plant, Takeda aimed to leverage the Russian market while consolidating its production and avoiding import duties from other countries. Recently rumors have been spreading that Takeda considers selling its Russian plant, which produces drugs like Ninlaro, analysts believe that the potential buyer may also gain rights to manufacture drugs like ixazomib.
Takeda in United StatesIn the US, Takeda sells 50+ products. The most popular among those are:
- ACTOS (pioglitazone)
- ADDERALL XR (single-entity amphetamine)
- DEXILANT (dexlansoprazole)
- ENTYVIO (vedolizumab)
- INTUNIV (guanfacine)
- LIALDA (mesalamine)
- NATPARA (parathyroid hormone injections)
- PREVACID and PREVPAC (lansoprazole)
- ROZEREM (ramelteon)
- TRINTELLIX (vortioxetine)
Pushing the BoundariesLife-transforming science doesn’t come easy. Takeda has successfully managed to amalgamate its 240+ years of rich history with strong values thanks to a culture of collaboration. Takeda has always been pushing boundaries—One medicine or treatment at a time. As per the company, they do so by pursuing modalities based on validated targets, evaluating real-world impact, and generating data that enables accelerated development and regulatory pathways. Fundamentally sound, Takeda’s scientific foundation allows it to pioneer and innovate in a controlled and reliable way. Whether it’s finding new cures to common problems or formulating medicines to treat life-threatening conditions, Takeda has always been at the forefront of the fight. The company has also been recognized generously for this quality to push the boundaries. For example, Takeda received Facility of the Year Award in the Social Impact Category for its plasma-derived therapies manufacturing site in Lessines (Belgium), which helps raise the bar on sustainability, renewing Takeda’s commitment to not just patients but the planet as well. It’s not always easy to push boundaries on your own regardless of how good your R&D department is, or how well-equipped the facilities are. Takeda does not shy away from acquiring relevant players in order to increase its market presence and solve bigger challenges faster. It was a big announcement back in early February of 2023 that Takeda Pharmaceuticals acquired Boston, MA-based Nimbus Lakshmi, Inc. from Numbus Therapeutics LLC. This gave Takeda access to NDI-034858 (renamed to TAK-279), an oral inhibitor that can be effective for multiple immune-mediated diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, apart from psoriasis. Expanding its portfolio is critical for any pharmaceutical company. This not only allows the company to have more solutions for patients and hospitals but also to cover a larger landscape. Not to mention that when a big firm like Takeda expands its portfolio, the added R&D capabilities only improve the new product or technology, thus enhancing its benefits and helping it reach even more people globally. And it’s been recognized time and again. In its pursuit to always stay on the front, Takeda routinely creates new formulas and solutions for challenging modern-day problems.
New Takeda drug approved by FDAFor example, FDA approved Takeda’s TAKHZYRO recently. It’s the first and only prophylaxis treatment that’s been approved in the US by the FDA for kids aged 2-6 suffering from Hereditary Angioedema or HAE attacks. HAE attacks are rare but potentially life-threatening. Early childhood angioedema attacks can scar a child for life. Unlike regular angioedema attacks, which are often triggered by allergies, hereditary angioedema is a condition that causes recurrent episodes of angioedema without any triggers—Causing sudden swelling of the lips, throat, arms, legs, and in some cases, even intestines. Being at the forefront is not just about scientific ornamentation or material gains based on the first-mover advantage. More deeply, it’s instrumental to being able to develop cures and treatments for life-threatening complications. And Takeda has excelled in that, proving to the world how their pursuit to push the boundaries of medical science and challenging treatments is unending.
Tech-enablementNo industry today has been left untouched by the explosive growth of the tech sector. So naturally, tools and devices working on microprocessors and leveraging software capabilities of all kinds have permeated through the healthcare industry in a big way. Takeda understands the reason behind this. The proliferation is in large part thanks to the benefits provided by technology (when applied correctly). For example, it can make processes faster, results more accurate, or testing more cost-effective. In that spirit, Takeda has always paid a lot of attention to how to best use tech in its work. This means utilizing drones, robots, and digital apps to deliver treatments that would’ve been very difficult otherwise. For example, islands in Nagasaki, Japan are being helped by Takeda in cutting short 40-minute boat rides with the help of drone delivery for diseases including chronic illnesses, shedding light on how many regional health issues can be solved with the help of drones. Takeda is taking advantage of everything from smartphone apps to drones to help patients reimagine how they look at health. And even more so can be solved with the help of robots and automated machines. The company’s extensive testing of a medical waste collection robot for hemophilia patients, for example, is another way how Takeda is improving life around us by mitigating risk and cutting down on health-related commutes. The robot is made in association with Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The program has been supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Takeda makes a differenc in Parkinsons disease with appIn another instance, Takeda Pharmaceuticals improved patient care by helping those suffering from Parkinson’s disease with an app! Medical devices that can monitor such patients 24×7 are very expensive. As Parkinson’s is an unpredictable illness and the severity can fluctuate throughout the day, a digital application-based solution seems to be the right way for patients. And that’s what Takeda did with the help of Kanagawa Prefecture. Takeda’s “Care for One” program uses an Apple Watch app, which can be further supplemented by manual entry of data through a connected iPhone. It can monitor movement disorders and their severity 24×7. It can also stream the data directly to the doctor’s screen—Thus reducing the time taken to respond to an emergency. Though it’s true that a smartwatch-based app cannot be as accurate as a medical-grade device, it’s still a godsend for people with Parkinson’s who might find themselves at the mercy of less reliable solutions if their condition worsens suddenly. This led to the teams publishing multiple research papers, bringing into light the learnings from the application’s function. There is unlimited scope for infusing tech into day-to-day healthcare systems. Takeda certainly has bigger plans than these 3 standalone examples. They are working on fleshing out their tech-enabled medical solutions while diversifying the types of tools they provide. As it’s all based on rigorous testing and science-backed research, these are some of the most reliable solutions for patients all over the world.
Areas of SpecializationTakeda Pharmaceuticals, like any other major healthcare player worth its salt, has core specializations where they excel competitively. These include:
- Gastrointestinal and Inflammation Diseases: GI and inflammation diseases are among the most common diseases in the world. Takeda has 30+ years of experience in gastroenterology, which enables it to advance scientific research and clinical medicine that brings about a positive shift in a patient’s health consistently and safely.
- Rare Diseases: Covering multiple domains such as hematology, metabolic and lysosomal shortage, and immunology, Takeda specializes in rare diseases of all types, for all people. Takeda’s main focus in this category is combating misdiagnosis, which is all too common owing to how the majority of rare diseases progress very differently from person to person.
- Plasma-derived Therapies: Takeda has been making the lives of patients with rare and chronic diseases easier with life-sustaining and potentially lifesaving therapies. Lifelong conditions, for example, often have no alternative treatment except plasma-derived ones. And Takeda has been focused on making these therapies as perfect as possible.
- Oncology: With 25+ years of leadership in oncology, Takeda has a variety of therapies that have transformed the lives of underserved patients in a big way. Takeda mainly specializes in solid tumors and hematology.
- Neuroscience: Whether it’s rare epilepsies, sleep-wake disorders, or Parkinson’s disease, Takeda’s neuroscience department is well-known for its disease-modifying medicines. But that’s not all. Takeda takes it to the next level with strategic partnerships, raising awareness, and patient education to make the world a better place.
- Vaccines: Takeda’s work in vaccinating the local population covers over 70 years of legacy. They supplied rubella, mumps, and measles vaccines and helped Japanese people combat various diseases. Building upon its great legacy, the company has now shifted its focus to preventing the most challenging infectious diseases. These include COVID-19, dengue, influenza, and Zika.