Takeda teams up with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research for global educational push aimed at plasma shortfalls

Takeda and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have launched an educational partnership with the goal of creating an impartial UN-based platform where stakeholders from all areas can congregate to brainstorm solutions to solve for plasma and plasma-derived therapy shortfalls.

The project, which is still yet to be named, launched at the end of September with two pilot countries, Argentina and Malaysia. These were selected by UNITAR from a list the two organizations had put together based on the criteria of unmet need. Each country will set up a platform for the public sector, academia, medical community, patient advocacy and industry can all work together in finding ways for these countries to find a more sustainable way of plasma sourcing both locally and afar.

Part of the problem with sourcing plasma is antiquated ideas of safety, so, the project aims to bring key people, especially policymakers, up to speed with the latest science.

“Many policies and regulations are outdated. They are built on the basis of science that is decades old, and concerns that are no longer legitimate based on the science and the data that we have today around the quality and safety of plasma therapies,” said Giles Platford, president of Takeda’s plasma-derived therapies business unit.

“So part of it is around educating policymakers…and evolving policies, legislation regulations, so that more and more countries can open themselves up to different models for collection of plasma and reduce the global dependence on US-sourced plasma.”

Plasma is essential for the creation of immunoglobulins, used to treat primary and secondary immunodeficiencies. Patients who need these therapies don’t have any other options, so it’s essential to find these sources. When it comes to plasma, a heterogeneous supply is beneficial as different populations in different areas have a varied level of antibodies and immunity against different viruses, which can help in the development of future therapies.

UNITAR, who contacted Takeda to help with the project, is leading the push, with Takeda in the background offering advice, connections and financial support.

Takeda is adamant that this isn’t an exclusive partnership and hopes that other industry peers will collaborate and contribute. In addition to the piloting two countries, there will be a global website that Platford called a “knowledge database” where everyone can share the latest research data and information around plasma supply.

Takeda is big into plasma-derived therapies. For three months ending in June, the department had a sales increase of 18% at constant currencies to 141.9 billion yen ($1 billion) as its immunoglobulin and albumin products delivered speedy returns. The pharma is spending nearly 300 million euros ($300 million) in constructing a new production facility for plasma-derived therapies and a new warehouse at its existing Lessines site in Belgium.