Takeda recently hosted two very special Research and Development (R&D) Investor Days: the first took place on September 27th at our Global Headquarters in Tokyo, and the second on October 11th at our global R&D center in Boston. Both events showcased our current pipeline, with our leaders delivering Takeda’s R&D vision for the future and highlighting the company’s position as a world-class, R&D-driven company.
Change requires ambition, determination, and a desire to meet new challenges. CEO Christophe Weber stated in his welcoming address: "We decided to be courageous and transform our R&D; we see the R&D engine we have developed as truly unique."
Research is crucial. It sustains growth, drives innovation, and allows us to help patients all over the world, which is why it is at the core of our ongoing business strategy. In his opening speech, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Andy Plump revealed how a strong R&D engine has been a cornerstone of Takeda's transformation. He also emphasized that being at the forefront of innovation has allowed Takeda to grow its existing portfolio and that the company will continue to strengthen and fuel its world-class pipeline for the future.
The language of growth and transformation which underscored Plump's address was echoed by a number of additional speakers who, from their respective backgrounds, offered revealing insights into each of our key therapeutic areas. There was no shortage of compelling content demonstrating the success of the R&D transformation. Since the start of fiscal year 2016, Takeda has achieved 30 pipeline progression stage-ups while greatly enhancing itsR&D capability. The company has also sharpened its R&D focus, turning its attention to highly innovative medicines in three therapeutic areas - Oncology, Gastroenterology, Neuroscience - as well as in the expanding field of Vaccines.
A primary driver of growth continues to be strategic partnerships. Takeda's progressive approach has successfully generated over 180 active global partnerships, 56 of which were executed in 2017. An impressive 45% of our pipeline is now partnered. Plump drove home the message with a look back on the April 2018 opening of the Shonan iPark - the first open innovation ecosystem originated in Japan to cultivate pharmaceutical innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.
One of the topics given special emphasis during the event was the company's focus on highly innovative medicines - a strategy that has already resulted in many promising clinical R&D programs, of which 38% have orphan drug designation indications. Takeda views rare diseases as an additional opportunity to deliver on its Vision 2025 - serving the needs of patients, wherever they are, through pioneering advances in R&D.
Takeda's R&D strategy is working. Through determination, a clear vision, and by continuing to put patients at the center of what we do, there is shared confidence that this transformational journey will deliver even more exciting opportunities for measurable growth and sustainable success.