Takeda has provided Bulgarian patients with 10 innovative therapies in 4 years

Todor Kesimov graduated from Regent’s Business School London in 2007. He joined the biopharmaceutical company Takeda in 2012 as a Business Controller for Bulgaria and a year later became the Head of Finance and Logistics for Romania and Bulgaria. In the period 2017-2018 he was in charge of Takeda’s Finance Department for the Balkan Region. In the early 2018 he took over the position of General Manager of Takeda’s representative office in Bulgaria. Now, upon the acquisition of Shire by Takeda in early 2019, Todor Kesimov is the Head of the united company Takeda Bulgaria EOOD. He is on the Management Boards of the Association of the Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Bulgaria (ARPharM) and the Japan – Bulgaria Business Association.

1. The biopharmaceutical company Takeda was established in Japan 240 years ago. What types of medicines does it manufacture?

Yes, this year we are proudly celebrating Takeda’s 240th anniversary – a truly remarkable occasion. It is due to the “age” of the company that it adheres to well-established traditions that, however, do not prevent it from being innovative and adaptive in every single aspect – in terms of its portfolio of medicinal products, in terms of the interaction with our employees, and, last but not least, in terms of our social responsibility.

The medicinal products of Takeda aim to help patients with various rare diseases, as well as patients with cancer, gastrointestinal and hematological diseases.

2. How has the company evolved in all those years? What was Takeda’s story in Bulgaria?

Takeda started out as a small family company established in Osaka by Chobei I, and now it is among the top global biopharmaceutical manufacturers present in 80+ countries around the world. To give an example of the company’s stability and adaptability, I can proudly say that, despite the unprecedented challenges to businesses in all industries worldwide, in FY 2020 Takeda achieved the impressive sales of approximately USD 30 bn, and is also planning to increase the investments in development by about 15%.

Takeda entered the Bulgarian market in 2008. Although relatively new in the country, the company has seen a rapid development – the team of only 5 in 2017 has grown to presently count 20. In 2021 Takeda repeatedly ranked first on a monthly basis among the fastest-growing original pharmaceutical companies. Over the last 4 years we have managed to provide Bulgarian patients with about 10 innovative therapies in the areas of rare diseases, cancer and gastroenterology, which have successfully undergone health technology assessments.

3. This year Takeda has received the EURORDIS Black Pearl Award. Will you please share what this award recognizes?

Black Pearl Awards are presented by EURORDIS – an alliance of rare disease patient organizations in Europe – to recognize achievements and outstanding work in the area of rare diseases. The award ceremony is an annual event that is held in February as a way to mark the Rare Diseases Day (28 February) and are awarded in different categories. Takeda won this year’s Award for Patient Engagement which comes as recognition of the company’s unwavering commitment to maintaining a constructive partnership with the rare disease patient community.

In fact, both globally and here in Bulgaria, Takeda aims at maintaining close contact with patient organizations and at supporting them in their initiatives. We are striving to raise public awareness of various diseases and to achieve early diagnosis, which is particularly important, but also very challenging, when it comes to rare diseases.

4. Why did Takeda Bulgaria renovate the Japanese garden in Sofia Zoo? What is the significance of such initiatives?

As a company that originated in Japan, we have a strong interest in Japanese culture and the Japanese community. We found out about the existence of the Japanese garden and that Sofia Zoo experienced difficulties maintaining it, and our team, quite spontaneously, came up with the idea to renovate and maintain the garden. We are doing this as a gesture to all visitors of Sofia Zoo and its management and also due to our connection with and sentiments to Japanese culture.

In general, Takeda strives to be a socially responsible and committed company. We have ambitious objectives related to environmental protection, whereby in FY 2019 (i.e. until April 2020) the company achieved 100% of its targets in terms of carbon emissions globally. Furthermore, every year Takeda’s employees worldwide vote to select one of several global corporate social responsibility projects aimed at meeting critical healthcare needs in vulnerable regions, which we subsequently implement. In a similar vein, locally in Bulgaria we heed the voice of our team in terms of ideas on projects of public significance that we may implement or support. By way of example, besides the Japanese garden, on July 1 of this year, as prompted by the team, we organized a party for the children at a family-type residential care unit. We are exploring other ideas, as well, that we hope to soon pleasantly