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Takeda Announces Winners From Its Depression Care Challenge Competition

September 28, 2016

Deerfield, Ill., September 28, 2016 – Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, today announced the winners of its Open Innovation in Depression Care Crowd Challenge, a first-ever contest to discover innovations that may help patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). 

MDD is a complex medical condition that affects approximately 14 million adults in the U.S. in any given year. Many people believe depression is just sadness, but MDD is a combination of many symptoms. In addition to depressed mood or sadness, MDD symptoms include loss of interest, changes in appetite or weight, insomnia or oversleeping, loss of energy, restlessness or having slowed speech and movements, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty thinking or making decisions, and thoughts of suicide.

“MDD can be a very difficult condition to manage and we were thrilled to see some very innovative thinking emerge from this first-ever Takeda competition,” said Nicole Mowad-Nassar, Vice President, External Partnerships, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. 

The company sought ideas in several areas, including technologies that can help with the diagnosis of patients who may be suffering from depression; help patients gain access to an appropriate care provider; or improve adherence to a treatment plan.

Response was strong, Mowad-Nassar explains. "We were very pleased to see ideas from a broad range of entrepreneurial, forward-thinking companies. It made the judges’ job more difficult but that’s what we wanted.”

The winning entry was EllieGrid, a smart pill box linked to an app on the patient’s phone that helps improve adherence through automated text and visual message prompts to remind the patient when each specific medicine needs to be taken.

The finalist entries were judged by an expert panel which included Takeda representatives. Each team had several minutes to present their idea in front of a live audience filled with investors, partners, and health care leaders. The panel of judges determined which finalists received the total prize money of $50,000.

The next step in the process, Takeda explains, is to further refine the top ideas and assess how best to test and evaluate them in a real world application.

In terms of its effort to integrate digital solutions into an even broader array of areas in its business, Mowad-Nassar said Takeda has more than 35 digital projects currently underway globally catalyzed by the company’s digital accelerator team. The projects are completed with external partners ranging from small operations to much larger technology businesses.

About Takeda 
Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine.

The company has a commercial presence covering around 70 countries, with particular strength in Asia, North America, Europe and fast-growing emerging markets including Latin America, Russia-CIS and China. Areas of R&D focus include central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic, gastroenterology, oncology, and vaccines.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. is located in Deerfield, Ill., and is the U.S. marketing and sales organization of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com, and additional information about Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. is available through its website, www.takeda.us.


Jim Schwartz
Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
(224) 554-1689 (office); (832) 792-3727 (mobile)
[email protected]