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2019 Innovators in Science Award Winners Celebrated for Regenerative Medicine Research

Awards ceremony shines a spotlight on Takeda’s leadership in the field of regenerative medicine and commitment to fostering collaboration between industry and academia.
“Exceeding frontiers in research today will lead to important and meaningful therapies for patients tomorrow.” CEO and President of Takeda, Christophe Weber, delivered remarks on innovation and collaboration to attendees at the second annual Innovators in Science Award Ceremony and Symposium in Tokyo, Japan. The event, held in partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), honored Dr. Michele De Luca and Dr. Shruti Naik - two researchers whose pioneering efforts are leading innovation in the field of regenerative medicine.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO; Andy Plump, President, Research & Development; and Toshio Fujimoto, General Manager, Shonan Health Innovation Park, represented Takeda during the ceremony and presented the 2019 winners with their Awards.

Dr. De Luca: A Pioneer of Regenerative Medicine
Dr. Michele De Luca, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, received the 2019 Senior Scientist Award for his achievements in epithelial genetics, a discipline that looks at the biomolecular structures of the body’s exposed tissues. His laboratory research has led to the discovery of an epithelial stem cell culture that restores vision in patients with severe limbal stem cell deficiency who previously had limited treatment options.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my research in epithelial stem cells and for my contributions in expanding their therapeutic potential,” Dr. De Luca said. “The award is an urging motivator to continue pursuing this line of research to hopefully turn promising research into real, life-saving therapies.”

Dr. Naik: A Rising Star
Dr. Shruti Naik, an assistant professor of pathology and dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, received the 2019 Early-Career Scientist Award and is a rising star in the field of epithelial stem cell research. Her work examines immune responses in epithelial and microbial cells to inform therapeutic strategies for conditions such as psoriasis, chronic wounds, and cancer.

“This recognition provides an opportunity to build collaborations with world-leading researchers as we further appreciate the complexities of stem cells and what they mean for regenerative medicine and future therapies,” said Dr. Naik.

Award Partnership Recognizes and Celebrates Disruptive and Transformative Research

Since its inception in 2016, the Innovators in Science Award has focused on acknowledging outstanding research in fields of medicine aligned with Takeda’s core therapeutic areas. Following the inaugural award, which recognized excellence in neuroscience discovery, regenerative medicine took center stage this year in the hope that discoveries in the discipline progress beyond the laboratory and into a clinical setting.

Drawn from major universities and academic medical centers, or equivalent, around the world, the Innovators in Science Award will honor distinguished research with two prizes of US $200,000. In recognizing and celebrating transformative and disruptive research, this program is another step in Takeda’s commitment to promoting scientific excellence as well as fostering a sense of community between industry and academia.

“Our collaboration with NYAS and leading, global institutions and scientists celebrates what Takeda strives for every day,” said Weber. “This partnership strengthens hope and opens the possibility that, together, we’ll discover important next-generation therapies.”