R&D Access to Medicines and Seeding Labs Partner to Expand Instrumental Access Program in Developing Countries

Scientific talent is everywhere, but resources are not. Access to the right tools and training for scientists in developing countries is essential to build sustainable healthcare capacity and accelerate scientific innovation and discovery.

Through a strategic partnership with Seeding Labs, a Boston-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Takeda’s R&D is helping build healthcare capacity by sharing expertise and providing much-needed resources to talented scientists in some of the neediest and most underserved communities, around the world.

Instrumental Access Program in Action
Seeding Labs’ Instrumental Access program involves a strategic and rigorous process for matching donated scientific equipment with qualified applicants from developing countries. Applicants must demonstrate the value of their research, the need for specific equipment, and the potential impact and outcomes of their work. Seeding Labs then works with companies like Takeda to identify surplus items in good working condition that match the needs of the selected universities and scientists.

“Working with Seeding Labs, we took essential lab equipment and supplies to build or expand research capabilities at 13 universities, in 10 developing countries,” said Jack Parker, Director of Asset Management and AV Services, at TBOS.

Equipment donated may enable a new lab to open, but it is only the beginning of the collaboration. “What is special about the Instrumental Access program is that we stay partners with the universities long after their equipment arrives. We facilitate training on installation and use and track the impact of the equipment, over time,” said Nina Dudnik, PhD, Founder and CEO of Seeding Labs.

Equipping a New Research Institute
Just last month, thanks to an infusion of Instrumental Access that included donated equipment from Takeda, the Universidad Iberoamericana celebrated the opening of their Institute for Tropical Medicine and Global Health. “Seeding Labs provided the ‘seed’ that was necessary to create the Institute,” said Dr. Robert Paulino, the Institute’s director. “Equipment is enabling us to create an environment not only for physicians and healthcare providers, but also engineers and maybe other departments in the university that can collaborate with us. They can all take advantage of this equipment to do really good science.”

It’s the first research institute in the Dominican Republic dedicated to emerging, infectious and tropical diseases and will focus on issues like Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue fever and HIV.

Dr. Paulino will use the equipment to realize his vision of a research hub with local focus and global impact. “That which affects us, affects our neighboring countries,” he said at the Institute’s opening. “Global health is a concept of international equality.”

Equipment donated by R&D AtM, through the Instrumental Access program is also spurring drug discovery in Zambia and South Africa. It’s accelerating work on pest-resistant crops that will increase food security in Malawi and Kenya. It’s helping researchers develop a malaria vaccine in Ghana and safer pest and disease management agrichemicals in Tanzania as well as helping scientists fight infectious diseases in the Philippinnes.

Connecting Scientists Through Instrumental Access
In March, Takeda Boston colleagues got a first-hand look at the impact of Takeda’s partnership with Seeding Labs during the “Positively Instrumental”event, Seeding Labs’ celebration of global science, during which 15 new awardees were announced for the 2017 Instrumental Access program. Following the event, a delegation of Instrumental Access scientists from Colombia, Kenya, and Cameroon, toured the new Vaccines labs in TBOS and met with Rajeevj Venkayya, Head of Vaccines Business Unit, members of his leadership team and VBU scientists.

“Helping to catalyze basic research and early translational medicine can have an enormous impact on strengthening the overall healthcare infrastructure in developing countries. Through the Instrumental Access program we are providing scientists with the resources and training they need to address local healthcare problems, participate in the fight against global diseases and teach the next generation of local scientists,” Rajeev said.

A look ahead
“This year, we will continue to evolve our participation in the Instrumental Access program, on several key fronts,” said Chris Reddick, Vice President, Medical Professional Affairs and R&D AtM Lead.

One aspect of the collaboration will focus on working with institutions and scientists in more developing countries to identify and address the most critical resources and equipment needed to start their research programs and drive solutions to critical research challenges.

One of R&D AtM’s core goals is to foster connections between Takeda R&D colleagues and their counterparts in developing countries through training, internship and mentorship programs.

“Linking R&D colleagues to research centers around the world helps us all grow. We can also develop a more systematic and global approach, within Takeda to identify surplus equipment for donation and match it to applicants, through Seeding Labs,” Chris said.
By supporting the Instrumental Access program, Takeda will be making a difference for universities with an impact that will be felt well beyond the lab.

“We are excited to partner with Takeda and demonstrate the power of expanding scientific connections, education, and access around the world,” says Nina Dudnik, PhD, Founder and CEO of Seeding Labs. “We know that science heals us, feeds us, powers our cities and protects our planet. Our network of scientists will be able to make advances that could impact us, all thanks to Takeda’s leadership and commitment to the global scientific community.”

Please contact Chris Reddick with questions or ideas about how to maximize the Instrumental Access program.