Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Believe It or Not! Takeda’s “IBD Unmasked” Superheroes are Back and Docs Find Them “Empowering!”

Believe It or Not! Takeda’s “IBD Unmasked” Superheroes are Back and Docs Find Them “Empowering!” | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Nonprofit executive Ethan Brewster can suddenly create body doubles of himself, while nurse Jiang Goh’s new superpower allows her to instantly heal injuries.


If it sounds like a Marvel superhero comic plot, that’s because it is. But Marvel’s latest custom-created storyline for Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ “The Unbeatables” comic book is also more than just an action-packed yarn. It’s the next chapter in Takeda’s inflammatory bowel disease awareness campaign, "IBD Unmasked," to drive awareness, empathy and support for patients and caregivers.


Last summer, Takeda bowed its partnership with Marvel—along with a patient advisory panel—for the first superhero character, Samarium, aka IBD-suffering forensic scientist Ian Diaz, who can morph his skin into impenetrable magnetic body armor (read “Takeda & Marvel Comics: Super Hero Reveals His Secret IBD Problem, Gets Girl Anyway”; Takeda later introduced a new global chapter and team of four more IBD superheroes and caregivers, each with their own superpowers and story. The latest chapter, which debuted on World IBD Day last week, is another global content effort that explores two of the characters' stories—Brewster’s Switchback and Goh’s Luminaria—more in-depth.


“Patients have found it to be empowering. It’s something they can to talk to each other about and also use to talk to their support systems,” Elli Johnsen, Takeda’s head of product and pipeline communications, said in an interview. “The physician community has also really embraced the concept from a creative perspective and finds it similarly empowering.”


The upcoming focus of the campaign will be to introduce it in more global markets and roll out the work locally in a way that’s appropriate and customized to each market, Johnson said. Two new chapters are in the works and will be released sometime this summer. Social media efforts, including posts at Twitter handle @IBDUnmasked, will continue as well.

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Takeda & Marvel Comics: Super Hero Reveals His Secret IBD Problem, Gets Girl Anyway

Takeda & Marvel Comics: Super Hero Reveals His Secret IBD Problem, Gets Girl Anyway | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Takeda has teamed up with comics firm Marvel to produce an online graphic novel that aims to raise awareness about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The graphic novel, IBD Unmasked, features a super hero, Samarium, and encourages readers to find out more about the condition.

There is also a quiz aimed at those who have the disease, and those who are caring for them.

Takeda and Marvel Custom Solutions hope the campaign will encourage patients to speak with healthcare professionals, family and friends to continue to help them manage their disease.

Elissa Johnsen, head of global product and pipeline communications at Takeda, said: “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.”

The US is the first country to launch IBD Unmasked and countries in Europe, Asia and South America will follow this year with additional content and campaign partners.

Dr James Lindsay, consultant in Gastroenterology at Barts and the London NHS Trust, added: “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.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Interestingly, when you leave the Takeda site ( a message pops up that says: "You are now leaving the IBD Unmasked website. Takeda does not control, and is not responsible for, the content of the website you are choosing to visit." But clearly the site linked to is sponsored by Takeda (there's a Takeda logo right at the top of the page). So, Takeda is not responsible for content it pays for? Hmmm...

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