IBD Unmasked, a First-of-its-Kind Global Awareness Initiative, Launches to Support and Empower the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Community

IBD Unmasked, a First-of-its-Kind Global Awareness Initiative, Launches to Support and Empower the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Community

July 13, 2016

Takeda unveils new IBD Super Hero and graphic illustrations, developed in collaboration with Marvel Custom Solutions, to highlight the strength of and inspire confidence in those living with IBD

Osaka, Japan, July 13, 2016 – If someone with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was a Super Hero, what would that hero look like? What would they stand for? Perhaps bravery, strength, determination three characteristics demonstrated by the IBD community members who battle this disease every day. Today, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited [TSE: 4502], launched IBD Unmasked, a first-of-its-kind global initiative designed to raise awareness of the unsung Super Heroes of the global IBD community, and celebrated through a unique collaboration with the creative geniuses at Marvel Custom Solutions.

There are more than 5 million people worldwide who live with IBD,1 which include the two most common types – ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). For these people, everyday activities like getting together with friends and family or going to the cinema may be challenging.2,3 IBD Unmasked features the new IBD Super Hero, Samarium (SƏm-Ər-i:-Ʌm), and graphic illustration series developed by Marvel Custom Solutions highlighting the physical and emotional challenges of IBD, while providing support and information for the patient community.

In addition to the first chapter of the IBD Unmasked graphic novel series, www.IBDunmasked.com also features interactive quizzes, facts and infographic, and an expert Q&A. In the coming weeks and months, more content will be unveiled – including more educational resources, new members of the IBD Unmasked team of Super Heroes, the next chapters in the graphic novel series, and the ability for users to create and share their own heroes. Follow along in the story and conversation on the Twitter handle, @IBDunmasked, and via #IBDunmasked.

IBD affects people of all ages and diagnosis is most common in early adulthood.4 People with IBD can oftentimes feel isolated when diagnosed, and simply discussing what they go through may be difficult. According to a large European study of people living with IBD, 48 percent of respondents reported that their lives are significantly or somewhat impacted by IBD symptoms even between flare-ups, IBD prevented 35 percent of people from pursuing an intimate relationship and 26 percent reported that IBD has gotten in the way of making and keeping friends.3

Battling IBD is a global fight that is not limited to a single country or continent. Patient who suffer from this condition face an ongoing battle to manage their disease and continue their daily life" said Dr. James Lindsay, consultant in Gastroenterology at Barts and the London NHS Trust. "Through this engaging platform, IBD Unmasked can encourage others who have been living in silence to be brave and speak up about their experience with IBD and share their fight with loved ones. Being diagnosed with IBD can be hard to accept, but discussing symptoms with a healthcare professional can help patients get the treatment and support they need."

“As a company, we are focused on providing continued support to the IBD community. In partnership with Marvel Custom Solutions, we are tapping into the power of visual storytelling to raise awareness and help people living with IBD feel more confident expressing themselves to their family, friends and IBD community,” explained Elissa Johnsen, Head, Global Product & Pipeline Communications, Takeda. “Takeda is proud to launch IBD Unmasked, and hopes to help spark productive conversations, shift perceptions and improve understanding of the impact of these diseases, in order to provide ongoing support for people with IBD.”

The U.S., in partnership with the CCFA, is the first country to launch IBD Unmasked, a global awareness campaign. Additional countries in Europe, Asia and South America will also launch throughout the year with additional content and campaign partners.

To learn more about IBD and the IBD Unmasked initiative, visit www.IBDunmasked.com.

About ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) are marked by inflammation in the GI tract. UC impacts the large intestine only, which includes the colon and the rectum. The most common symptoms of UC include abdominal discomfort and blood or pus in diarrhea.5 CD can impact any part of the digestive tract and common symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever.6 There is no known cause for UC or CD, although many researchers believe that the interaction between genes, the body’s immune system, and environmental factors play a role.2 The aim of UC and CD treatments is to induce and maintain remission, or achieve extended periods of time when patients do not experience symptoms.5,6

Takeda’s Commitment to Gastroenterology
Takeda is a global leader in gastroenterology. With expertise spanning more than 25 years, the company’s dedication to innovation continues to evolve and have a lasting impact. Beginning in the 1990’s Takeda pioneered gastroenterological breakthroughs in proton pump inhibitors. Since that time, Takeda’s global capabilities have expanded into the specialty care market in gastroenterology and biologics with a focus on ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Takeda's expertise also remains focused on therapeutic agents that work to reduce the production of acid in the stomach, and options for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and opioid-induced constipation. Through specialized and strategic in-house development, external partnerships, in-licensing and acquisitions, Takeda currently has a number of promising early stage GI assets in development, and remains committed to delivering innovative, therapeutic options for patients with gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

About Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda [TSE: 4502] 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. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.  

For Media Outside Japan:
Danny Stepto
TEL: +41-44-555-1504
[email protected]

Elissa J. Johnsen
TEL: +1-224-554-3185
[email protected]

For Japan Media:
Tsuyoshi Tada
TEL: +81 3 3278 2417
[email protected]



1 Burisch et al. The Epidemiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2015;50: 1-11.
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. The facts about inflammatory bowel diseases. http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/ibdfactbook.pdf. Published November, 2014. Accessed June 10, 2016.
Lonnfors S. et al. IBD and health-related quality of life – discovering the true impact. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2014;4(8):1281-1286.
Stenson W. Inflammatory bowel disease. In: Yamada T, Alpers D, Laine L, Owyang C, Powell D. Textbook of Gastroenterology. Vol 2. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers; 1999:1776-1856.
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Ulcerative colitis. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colitis/index.aspx. Published September 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Crohn’s disease. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/crohns/index.aspx. Published September 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.