Year: 2014-15

Company: Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Liaison(s): Steven Fausch Lachy McLean

Takeda Pharmaceuticals is a research-based global
pharmaceutical company. Takeda is currently
conducting clinical development activities in the US,
and has a robust pipeline of compounds in multiple
therapeutic areas. The Immunology Therapeutic Area
Unit of Takeda Pharmaceuticals would like the Team
Master’s Project team at Keck Graduate Institute to
help it understand the current landscape for developing
and marketing a new drug for Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS).
Specifically, they are interested in whether continued
development of therapies for SS align with Takeda’s
business strategies.
Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in
which the body’s white blood cells attack and destroy
exocrine glands, primarily the salivary and lacrimal
glands. This abnormal immune response results in
a variety of dryness symptoms, such as dry eye, dry
mouth, and other signs of dryness affecting the skin,
nose, and vagina. More disabling systemic symptoms
may also arise, including joint and muscle pain, organ
damage (in the lungs, nerves, and kidneys), cognitive
impairment, and fatigue. SS is one of the most common
autoimmune diseases, affecting approximately 4
million people in the United States. Currently, no
disease modifying therapy has been approved for
Sjögren’s treatment. Most patients rely on overthe-
counter medication, which partially improves
symptoms but does not help the underlying cause;
however, severe cases require off-label use of biologics.
The Takeda “Market Landscape” TMP Team
conducted both primary and secondary research. First,
the team investigated the disease prevalence, market
size, commercial landscape, current reimbursement
opportunities, and clinical unmet needs of Sjögren’s
patients through secondary research. Second, the team
designed and distributed a survey to rheumatologists.
The survey was used to gather additional information
about the clinical unmet needs as well as gain a better
understanding of how Sjögren’s is being diagnosed and
assessed in practice. Finally, using this information, the
team was able to gain insights about patients’ needs
and challenges, which could be used to drive high
acceptance of a new drug by both doctors and patients.