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Takeda joins HRP Initiative’s fight against high-risk plaque disease
April 2008
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WALTHAM, Mass.—Japanese pharmaceutical research company Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. has joined BG Medicine, Merck, AstraZeneca and Philips as the newest member of the High-Risk Plaque (HRP) Initiative, a pre-competitive industry collaboration working to reduce morbidity, mortality and costs associated with cardiovascular disease.

Founded in January 2007, the HRP Initiative is focused on developing novel blood tests and imaging methods to find individuals with high-risk plaque disease—the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes—before the occurrence of their first cardiovascular event. The initiative is led by many of the foremost scientists in the field of cardiovascular disease, radiology and other medical disciplines.

With no current practical means to identify who carries this often deadly disease, the HRP Initiative is working to find ways to reliably identify these individuals through imaging or blood tests before the first event will enable the development of novel treatments. According to the group, these findings would have a major impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

The initiative expects to provide a total of $30 million in funding over four years and will leverage recent advances in biology and technology to design and optimize a patient care-cycle for high-risk plaque. The initiative's recently launched BioImage study, a 6,000-patient, three-year prospective cardiovascular outcome study, will use a novel approach to conducting critical medical research. Volunteers will be recruited from among Humana health benefit plan members, allowing for a better integration between a volunteer's research participation and the health care they receive. Study enrollment started in Chicago in the first quarter of 2008 and will continue in Louisville, Ky., and South Florida until the first quarter of 2009.

The initiative's BioImage study makes it uniquely positioned for discovery as well as validation of biomarkers of atherosclerotic disease, says Dr. Masaomi Miyamoto, general manager of Takeda's Pharmaceutical Development Division.

"By joining the HRP initiative, Takeda hopes to facilitate the development of such markers to help doctors diagnose patients earlier and more accurately in order to prevent atherosclerosis-related events and to develop novel more effective treatments," Miyamoto says.

The initiative's collaborating companies share responsibility for the overall planning and governance of the HRP research activities and provide funding in exchange for certain rights to project data, materials and other intellectual property. 

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