Mutual Benefits of International Collaboration: Building Capacity and Increasing Employee Growth

April 26, 2021

How can participation in WIPO Re:Search not only improve international knowledge sharing in medical research, but also increase employee growth and satisfaction in a company? WIPO Re:Search asked Dr. Chris Reddick, Head of Takeda’s R&D Center for Health Equity, about Takeda’s experience.

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(Photo: courtesy of Takeda)

Takeda has been an active WIPO Re:Search member since 2015. How has the experience impacted your company?

When we joined WIPO Re:Search in 2015, our focus was mainly on sharing compound libraries with the global research community to support drug development for diseases that primarily impact low- and middle-income countries. While this approach brought good results for the particular research projects, over time we came to appreciate that we could do more by also helping to build broad-based scientific expertise through knowledge sharing. As a result of this intentional shift, Takeda is now leading the way in terms of research and development (R&D) capacity building. This is reflected in Takeda’s rise in rankings in the latest Access to Medicine Index. Today, we ask ourselves: if we do not focus on a specific infectious disease, what can we do to empower those research institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that do?

How do you implement this strategy?

In some of our collaborations, we share our libraries of chemical compounds with institutions conducting R&D to see if they can be repurposed for a specific disease – as for example, through a WIPO Re:Search collaboration, Takeda shared a set of inhibitors with Prof. Av-Gay at the University of British Columbia for screening against tuberculosis (TB).  We also take a much broader approach, one that emphasizes capacity building and knowledge sharing. The end goal of such collaborations is still drug development, but the process is about knowledge sharing. This is a win-win strategy – our scientists learn from the expertise of external scientists, and vice-versa. A good example of our knowledge sharing approach is a collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH to examine the feasibility of using Takeda’s microneedle patch technology to administer a transmission-blocking malaria vaccine.

How do you engage Takeda’s researchers in WIPO Re:Search collaborations?

Today more than ever companies want to be connected to the global health ecosystem. Our scientists at Takeda also share that goal. It is important for them to have an opportunity to help respond to global health challenges in their everyday work, and in a very direct way. Takeda’s participation in programs like WIPO Re:Search actually increases our employee satisfaction. In addition, as I already mentioned, our researchers gain new insights and skills by participating in these collaborations, and continue to grow professionally.

About WIPO Re:Search

WIPO Re:Search is a global public-private partnership between WIPO and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), a non-profit organization that connects the for-profit and non-profit sectors to solve global health challenges. WIPO Re:Search supports early-stage research and development (R&D) in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), malaria, and tuberculosis. Through targeted, mutually beneficial R&D collaborations among its members, the partnership catalyzes royalty-free sharing of IP – including compounds, data, clinical samples, technology, and expertise – and drives progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.