For more than 12 years, Takeda has been a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). PhRMA represents the world’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies in advocating for policies in the U.S. and globally that support research for new treatments and cures and ensure patients have access to the latest scientific advances. Ramona Sequeira, President of Takeda’s Global Portfolio Division, assumed the role of chair of PhRMA’s Board of Directors in February of this year and is the first woman to be appointed to this position in the organization’s history.
At the end of last month, Ramona led the annual “PhRMA Japan Days” activities in Tokyo. On behalf of PhRMA’s member companies, she met with senior government officials, members of patient advocacy organizations and other key health care stakeholders. During these meetings, she underscored the industry’s commitment to working with Japan to strengthen its biopharmaceutical innovation ecosystem, ensuring Japan can remain a global leader in public health.
Ramona highlighted the industry’s significant investment in research and development, including $1.7 trillion worldwide and $100 billion (¥14 trillion) in Japan in the past decade. This funding has generated a global pipeline that has never been more promising. Looking ahead, the industry expects approximately $1.2 trillion in investment worldwide in the next five years to continue spurring medical advances for patients.
To ultimately bring truly innovative treatments and vaccines to patients, Ramona spoke to the importance of strengthening the biopharmaceutical innovation ecosystem to help stimulate and reward innovation while aligning incentives with the pace of scientific discovery. This begins with incentivizing investment in research and development across the public and private sectors.
Ramona shared the benefits of innovation clusters, like that of Massachusetts. Similarly, Takeda established the Shonan Health Innovation Park, also known as Shonan iPark, in Kanagawa Prefecture. She explained that the site “brings together researchers, industry experts, venture capitalists, local governments and academia to collaborate and accelerate innovation.” Shonan iPark is supported by the local government and aligns well with the backbone of the government’s economic and revitalization strategy.
Japan is one of the few countries that has the scientific capability, regulatory rigor and manufacturing expertise to support the entire process of drug development from basic research through clinical development to commercialization. However, PhRMA believes that the potential of the biopharmaceutical R&D industry in Japan has not been fully achieved.
On behalf of PhRMA, she encouraged the Japanese government to accelerate movement towards a globally harmonized regulatory system. Japan has a strong and rigorous regulatory system, and by adding flexibility to application requirements and creating more alignment in key areas, PhRMA believes patients in Japan will have even faster access to new, life-transforming medicines.
She also pointed out that several policy changes have led to negative growth of the bio pharmaceutical market in Japan. In particular, recent pricing reforms have provided less predictability for business and less reward for innovation. She suggested solutions such as allowing innovative medicines to maintain their prices during their patent periods could help spur innovation and generate modest sales growth.
Through these conversations, Ramona reiterated that the best policies are made when all stakeholders come together and work as partners towards a common goal. This includes robust public-private dialogue. With this in mind, Ramona underscored that PhRMA and Takeda are committed to engaging with the Japanese government on policy reform, ideally through a new forum that could focus on the ways that the public and private sectors could collaborate on improving the innovation ecosystem while maintaining the sustainability of the overall health care system.