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2020 Innovators in Science Award Ceremony and Symposium Recognize Excellence in Rare Diseases Research

Takeda celebrates rare diseases leadership with pioneers from across the industry

The third Innovators in Science Award Ceremony and Symposium recognized excellence in and commitment to innovative science that has significantly advanced the field of rare diseases research. In 2020, the award program celebrated Professor Adrian Krainer and Professor Jeong Ho Lee for their outstanding contributions in the field of rare diseases.

The Innovators in Science Award is administered by the New York Academy of Sciences and sponsored by Takeda. This global Award recognizes a promising Early-Career Scientist and an outstanding Senior Scientist for their exceptional research and contributions to biomedical science. Two prizes of US $200,000 are granted each Award cycle to advance innovative research aligned with Takeda’s core therapeutic areas.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Takeda held the award Ceremony and scientific symposium events virtually for the first time in 2020. The online events were an opportunity to explore and demonstrate what interactivity and scientific celebration can look like in a virtual world. Christophe Weber, CEO, Andy Plump, President, Research & Development, and Dan Curran, Head, Rare Genetics and Hematology Therapeutic Area Unit, presented Professors Krainer and Lee with their Awards.

Innovators in Science Award logo

Prof. Adrian Krainer: A Cornerstone in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Advancements
Adrian R. Krainer, Ph.D, a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, received the 2020 Senior Scientist Award for his research on the mechanisms and control of RNA splicing, a step in the normal process by which genetic information in DNA is converted into proteins. His research examines the splicing defects in patients with spinal muscular atrophy, a fatal pediatric neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive muscular atrophy. Prof. Krainer’s work culminated notably in the development of the first drug to be approved by global regulatory bodies that can delay and even prevent the onset of an inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Hear from Prof. Krainer and learn more about his research in the video below.


Prof. Jeong Ho Lee: Leading the Next Generation of Advancements in Neurological Disorders
Jeong Ho Lee, M.D., Ph.D, was recognized at the 2020 Winner of the Early-Career Scientist Award. An associate professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Prof. is recognized for his research investigating genetic mutations in stem cells in the brain that result in rare developmental brain disorders. He was the first to identify the causes of intractable epilepsies and has identified the genes responsible for several developmental brain disorders. Watch Prof. Lee’s video to learn more about his groundbreaking research.


Frontiers in Rare Diseases: 2020 Innovators in Science Award Symposium

In addition to the Award Ceremony, Prof. Krainer and Prof. Lee were showcased during the Innovators in Science Award Symposium. The 2020 Senior Scientist and Early-Career Scientist Award winners presented their research and participated in discussions with Takeda R&D leaders and researchers from across the world. Nearly 200 scientists, clinicians, industry stakeholders and patient advocates gathered together virtually as members of one rare diseases community to discuss how research advances may be translated into transformative or potentially curative therapies for patients. The Symposium featured scientific presentations, as well as a patient and caregiver-led panel discussion, all aimed at exploring where we are today and what we hope the future of rare diseases research will yield for patients.