To Cure Cancer, Let Scientific Discovery Grow

Author: Teresa Bitetti, President, Global Oncology Business Unit

“Plants grow better when they’ve been repotted.” This was one of my father’s favorite sayings. And advice I heeded when I joined Takeda after many years of working at the same company. Ultimately, I knew that if I wanted to continue to grow and thrive, I needed to move and try something different.

I often reflect on my father’s advice, and the power of this metaphor, when I think about our approach to growing our pipeline and fostering innovation at Takeda.

Planting the seeds of science

Takeda has a long-rooted history of scientific discovery aimed at transforming the patient experience going back to 1781, when our founder, Chobei I, first began selling traditional herbal medicines. Over time, enduring scientific curiosity and commitment to patients became rooted in Takeda’s values.

Today, these values guide our oncology pipeline strategy, focused on leveraging the power of innate immunity. Our innovative strategy is designed for a new era of oncology research – one we believe may hold the key to outsmarting cancer’s evasion abilities through cutting-edge science leveraging the power of innate immunity. 

Our immune system is comprised of the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. Currently approved immunotherapies primarily target adaptive immunity (which includes T cells) rather than innate immunity (which includes powerful ‘first responder’ cells, including natural killer cells). 

New studies indicate the potential to broaden the impact of immunotherapy treatments by activating these two interdependent parts of the immune system to work together to achieve immediate (innate) and specific (adaptive) responses to threats, including cancers.¹-² Our goal is to harness the power of innate immunity to introduce new classes of immunotherapies that can lead to deep, durable responses and bring the potential of immunotherapy to more cancer patients.

Cultivating our ecosystem

We say we welcome innovation from everywhere, and we mean it. We’re eager for insight and contributions from experts – internal or external – who share our vision and aspiration to cure cancer. Our philosophy that “science is smarter” is behind the cross-pollination of knowledge in our teams. From our clinical scientists to our regulatory managers, we combine the power of diverse and experienced scientific minds to deliver our best and develop medicines with curative intent.

We also draw and build upon the expertise and experience of medical professionals, industry colleagues, advocates, academia, government, policymakers, payers and others. Scientific partnerships inform our clinical development approach and foster shared knowledge and insight to find the best way to attack cancer. Our scientific collaborations are making an impact – as is our collaboration with patient groups who share our conviction to create a world where all patients have access to the treatment and the support they need in their battle against cancer.   

To grow, it is important to have the right conditions. To bloom, continued care and encouragement are essential. And to thrive, we must be open to exploring new ground. In our battle against cancer, it is with this mindset that we approach new challenges, and know that with each day, and each development, we are moving closer to our goal.

To learn more about leadership within Takeda Oncology and our growing pipeline, catch Teresa’s interview with the PharmaVoice Woman of the Week podcast.

For more information about how we are exploring the untapped potential of the innate immune system, please visit Our Approach to Harnessing Innate Immunity.   

 

 

References

¹ Chang RB, Beatty GL. The interplay between innate and adaptive immunity in cancer shapes the productivity of cancer immunosurveillance. J Leukoc Biol. 2020;108(1):363-376. doi:10.1002/JLB.3MIR0320-475R  

² Hartl CA, Bertschi A, Puerto RB, et al. Combination therapy targeting both innate and adaptive immunity improves survival in a pre-clinical model of ovarian cancer. J Immunother Cancer. 2019;7(1):199. Published 2019 Jul 30. doi:10.1186/s40425-019-0654-5