Gabriele Ricci

Head of Plasma Derived Therapies (PDT) IT, Takeda

Supernova Award Category: 

Next-Generation Customer Experience

The Organization: 

Takeda is a patient-focused, values-based, R&D-driven global biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to people worldwide. Our passion and pursuit of potentially life-changing treatments for patients are deeply rooted in over 230 years of distinguished history in Japan. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology (GI). We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. Biolife plasma Services, part of Takeda, is an industry leader in the collection of high-quality plasma that is processed into life-saving plasma-based therapies. We operate over 150+ state-of-the-art plasma collection facilities throughout the USA and EU.

The Problem: 

Takeda and BioLife play a significant role in supporting the growing global demand for plasma-based therapies and in order to deliver upon its commitments, BioLife must grow and retain its plasma donor population to ensure the manufacturing of life-saving therapies. BioLife has a very important relationship with its Donors to deliver accessibility, efficiency, and safety throughout the donation experience. A single rare-disease patient may require +1000 plasma donations from donors to support 1 year of life-sustaining therapy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 created new complexities to be managed without jeopardizing the trust and relationship of our donors. Plasma is a very scarce resource and Takeda responsibly ensures sustainable patient. BioLife needed to figure out way to continue delivering a safe and efficient plasma donation experience to both its donors and its staff operating the centers. Takeda initiated the development of a therapy to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19 by leveraging plasma collected from patient recovered from COVID-19. Developing a hyperimmune will require plasma donation from many individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19, and whose blood contains antibodies that can fight the novel coronavirus. The new objectives for the Takeda organization became clear: ensure donor and center staff safety without impacting business operations and quickly identify and attract recently recovered COVID-19 patients to donate convalescent Plasma.

The Solution: 
  • Plasma donation awareness: create new campaigns and messaging to attract an entirely different type of donor, develop new materials to educate and inform, seek other organizations to join our mission.
  • Patient-finding: implement social-listening for COVID-19 discussions to implement digital targeting, configure analytics tools to consume publicly available COVID-19 case data and overlay with business operations data to inform geographic focus areas.
  • Patient eligibility: develop dynamic microsites to determine initial eligibility and help prospective donors to locate the nearest collection center within seconds, using AI-driven chatbots embedded across channels
  • Patient processing: Update our critical donation management systems (classified as medical devices), to support the Convalescent Donor plasma type in addition to our normal operations and enable innovative services such as UberHealth to improve accessibility by providing additional safe options for transportation
The Results: 

Thousands of liters of Convalescent Plasma have been successfully collected by BioLife operations as of mid-June to support the imminent clinical trials of potential COVID-19 treatment in a little over 3 months. New digital capabilities planned to be rolled out later in our digital strategy have been implemented with dedicated product teams in few weeks. All donations centers in the network remain operational, despite the restrictive measures implemented for donors and staff safety, limiting the impact in manufacturing our rare disease therapies. An Innovative partnerships - Plasma Alliance -has been created to bring together world-leading plasma companies to focus on developing and delivering a hyperimmune immunoglobulin in the global fight against COVID-19, producing an un-braded therapy using Takeda technology. This partnership adopted innovative digital assets to create awareness and recruit convalescent patients, like a PlasmaBot that Takeda created in partnership with Microsoft. this partnership has now been extended other organizations with the creation of a global campaign supported by celebrities, #thefightisinus. Other technology partners helped Takeda in building platforms to sustain this mission such as a global allocation model for the new therapy and a global platform to share data across the Alliance members.

  • BioLife’s COVID-19 related microsites accrued thousands of submissions
  • thousands of submissions came directly from social listening, targeted ads, or data-driven campaigns
  • This represents well over 200,000 sessions to various digital channels driving significant awareness to the public
  • PlasmaBot routed +10000 convalescent patients eligible to donate to donor centers of the Alliance
  • Create new customer journeys, campaign messaging, brand plans, stand up new digital capabilities (social listening, Uber Health integration, AI chatbots) all within a matter of days to support the Convalescent Plasma collection strategy.
The Technology: 

AI and Machine learning tools used to forecast pandemic spread, forecast donation centers operational impact, find convalescent patients, create allocation model for therapies and route eligible donors to centers using Chatbots. CRM for triaging in the centers, eligibility check and personalized donor service. Marketing automation for customer journey and personalized messaging. Social listening tools for patient finding. API tools to quickly integrate partners and external services.

Disruptive Factor: 

Unprecedented times call for bold moves: the plasma alliance is un unprecedent partnership in Life Science create an unbranded product using Takeda technology. Digital technology is at the core of this partnership, allowing thousands of employees across many companies to work together with a common mission: fight Covid. Thousands of patients around the world will be saved: this is the essence of Digital Health, the intersection of science and technology.

Shining Moment: 
  • Create new customer journeys, campaign messaging, brand plans, stand up new digital capabilities all within a matter of days to support the Convalescent Plasma collection strategy.
  • CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance to Initiate Clinical Study Evaluating Hyperimmune Therapy for COVID-19 by Summer 2020!
  • Fight Is In Us campaign now has celebrities support. Several stars joining the campaign’s efforts to encourage COVID-19 survivors to urgently donate their plasma.

About Takeda

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to patients by translating science into highly-innovative medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology