Takeda, Marvel Custom Solutions unveil four new Super Hero characters at London Comic Con

Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited [TSE: 4502] along with the support of Marvel Custom Solutions today announces the launch of four new Super Hero characters and the first chapter of a new graphic comic book at the popular London Comic Con, 28th – 30th October 2016. This first-of-its-kind global initiative – IBD Unmasked – has been designed to highlight both the daily battles and the remarkable strength of the unsung Super Heroes of the global inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community. Takeda is the first pharmaceutical company to partner with Marvel Custom Solutions on a disease awareness campaign raising awareness of health conditions.

The new team of Super Heroes – The Unbeatables – were created by Marvel Custom Solutions with input from a panel of IBD patients from around the globe. The Super Heroes will appear in a new opening chapter of the IBD Unmasked graphic novel series 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 their condition. Comic Con visitors can view a live painting demo by a Marvel illustrator and meet Samarium, the first of the IBD Super Heroes. You can track what’s going on via the campaign hashtag #IBDUnmasked.

“Patients told us about the physical and emotional battles they face every day from living with IBD and particularly highlighted the isolating nature of this disease. Through working with Marvel Custom Solutions and our global panel of patient advisors, we were able to creatively bring these insights to life and create parallels between the strength, perseverance and positivity of comic book Super Heroes and those living with IBD,” explained Elissa Johnsen, Head, Global Product & Pipeline Communications, Takeda. “At Takeda we believe that IBD Unmasked will continue to celebrate the strength that real life IBD Super Heroes exhibit every day and go on to spark powerful conversations, transform perceptions, and ultimately improve understanding of the impact of these diseases.”

There are more than 5 million people worldwide who live with IBD, which include the two most common types – ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). For these people, everyday activities like getting together with friends and family or going to the cinema may be challenging. The condition affects people of all ages and diagnosis is most common in early adulthood.

In a large European study of people living with IBD, 48 percent of respondents reported that their lives are significantly or somewhat impacted by IBD symptoms even between flare-ups, IBD prevented 35 percent of people from pursuing an intimate relationship and 26 percent reported that IBD has gotten in the way of making and keeping friends.

“IBD Unmasked uses the medium of fantasy and fiction in an attempt to highlight the hidden reality and daily battles that people with IBD have to fight every day,” said Dr. James Lindsay, consultant in Gastroenterology at Barts Health NHS Trust. “Feeling comfortable about discussing symptoms and their impact on your life is a crucial part of every consultation. Therefore, I encourage people with IBD to use the online IBD Unmasked resources to enhance consultations with their healthcare team so they can map out the best management plan for them.”

“Marvel Custom Solutions is excited to be part of this unique partnership with Takeda which has given us the opportunity to collaborate with such a courageous group of patient advisors to bring to life our new IBD Unmasked Super Hero squad, The Unbeatables,” said Darren Sanchez, Editor and Project Manager, Marvel Custom Solutions. “We strongly hope that our characters Luminaria, Switchback, Rubblerouser, Datawave and the inaugural Samarium, inspire the very brave, real-life warriors with IBD across the globe, to speak out and celebrate their strength.”

IBD Unmasked patient panel member, Seb Tucknott, comments “It has been a wonderful experience to be on the patient panel working with Marvel and Takeda to bring IBD experiences to life. What makes IBD Unmasked unique is its power to inspire people actually living with the condition, and in an imaginative way. IBD can be scary, but this campaign replaces fear with inspiration, empathy and humor – helping real life IBD Super Heroes fight their own IBD battles every day.”

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