Takeda and Marvel Custom Solutions Debut the Full IBD Unmasked Graphic Novel Featuring a Team of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Super Heroes

Takeda and Marvel Custom Solutions Debut the Full IBD Unmasked Graphic Novel Featuring a Team of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Super Heroes

August 2, 2017

-Two new chapters complete The Unbeatables graphic novel designed to raise awareness of the unrecognized Super Heroes of the global IBD community

Osaka, Japan, August 2, 2017 – Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited [TSE: 4502], with the support of Marvel Custom Solutions, today announced the debut of the final two chapters of the full graphic novel featuring The Unbeatables, a team of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Super Heroes. Launched in July 2016, IBD Unmasked isa first-of-its-kind global initiative designed to raise awareness of the unrecognized Super Heroes of the global IBD community and provide educational resources and support for people living with IBD, as well as the sidekicks who support them. Takeda is the first pharmaceutical company to partner with Marvel Custom Solutions on a disease awareness campaign raising awareness of health conditions.

The Unbeatables and the graphic novel were created by Marvel Custom Solutions in collaboration with a panel of people living with IBD from around the globe. The first chapter premiered at the popular London Comic Con in 2016, while the second chapter was revealed earlier this year on World IBD Day (19 May). The graphic novel features all five of The Unbeatables, Samarium, Switchback, Luminaria, Datawave and Rubblerouser, as they take on their enemy, Technonaut. Some of The Unbeatables have Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC), the two most common types of IBD, while others take care of family members or patients with the condition.1

“Only a person with IBD can understand what it is truly like. It can be very difficult, and it’s really important that your environment and those who surround you provide support and understanding,” said Chantel Wicks, IBD Unmasked patient panel member. “IBD Unmasked has shed light on the patient experience and given me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the IBD community.”

There are more than five million people worldwide who live with IBD.2 Everyday activities like getting together with friends and family or going to the cinema may be challenging for them.3,4 IBD affects people of all ages, and diagnosis is most common in early adulthood.5

“It was a unique and rewarding challenge to work on IBD Unmasked and collaborate directly with patients with IBD to create an inspiring new graphic novel,” said Fabian Nicieza, writer of The Unbeatables graphic novel and co-creator of Deadpool. “We are proud to have created a group of heroic characters living with IBD and a dramatic adventure story that will raise awareness and empower people living with IBD.”

The full IBD Unmasked graphic novel is available online at www.IBDunmasked.com, where visitors can also create and share their own Super Hero avatar, take part in quizzes and download tips to help them talk to their doctor, family or friends about IBD.

“When we launched IBD Unmasked, we wanted to provide inspiration for people living with IBD, and to recognize the truly heroic journey they go through in an authentic way,” explained Elissa Johnsen, Senior Director, Global Product & Pipeline Communications, Takeda. “During the past year, IBD Unmasked and our partnerships with patients, physicians and Marvel have enabled us to support those living with IBD in a meaningful and creative way.”

Follow the Super Heroes story and conversation on the Twitter handle, @IBDunmasked, and via #IBDunmasked. Note: the site will direct visitors to appropriate site and language, based on their location.

About Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) are two of the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).1,6 Both UC and CD are chronic, relapsing, remitting, inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that are often progressive in nature.7,8 UC only involves the large intestine as opposed to CD which can affect any part of the GI tract from mouth to anus.3,9 CD can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall, while UC only involves the innermost lining of the large intestine.3 UC often presents with symptoms of abdominal discomfort, loose bowel movements, including blood or pus.3,10 CD commonly presents with symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss.7 The cause of UC or CD is not fully understood, however recent research suggests hereditary, genetics, environmental factors and/or an abnormal immune response to microbial antigens in genetically predisposed individuals can lead to UC or CD.3,11,12

Takeda’s Commitment to Gastroenterology

More than 70 million people worldwide are impacted by gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, which can be complex, debilitating and life-changing.13 Takeda is driven to improving the lives of patients with GI diseases through innovative medicines, dedicated patient disease management support and the evolution of the healthcare environment. Takeda is leading in gastroenterology through the delivery of innovative medicines in areas associated with high unmet needs, such as inflammatory bowel disease, acid-related diseases and motility disorders. Our GI research & development team is also exploring solutions in celiac disease and liver diseases, as well as scientific advancements through microbiome therapies. With more than 25 years of experience in this area, our broad approach to treating many diseases that impact the GI system and our global network of collaborators, Takeda aims to advance how patients manage their disease.

About Takeda Pharmaceutical 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.


Media Contacts

For Media Outside Japan:

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

Andrea Towers
TEL: +1-212-576-4061
[email protected] 

For Japan Media:

Tsuyoshi Tada
TEL: +81-33-278-2417
[email protected]



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11 Bloom SM, et al. Commensal Bacteroides species induce colitis in host-genotype-specific fashion in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease. Cell Host Microbe. 2011;9:390-403.

12 Kaser A, et al. Genes and environment: How will our concepts on the pathophysiology of IBD develop in the future? Dig Dis. 2010;28:395-405.

13 Digestive Health. University of Miami Hospital. http://umiamihospital.com/service-lines/digestive-health. Accessed July 10, 2017.