Julie Kim became the President of Takeda Pharmaceutical’s U.S. Business Unit and U.S. Country Head earlier this month — and she played a critical role in the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance joint effort among plasma companies to develop a COVID-19 therapy.
Prior to Takeda, which Kim joined in 2019, she held international leadership positions at Shire, Baxter, and Baxalta. Part of her personal and professional mission is to advance health equity, including improving patient-centricity in ways that apply to the life sciences industry as a whole.
At the 2022 Health Evolution Summit, Kim participated in the Main Stage discussion “Life Sciences Insights: Competing Priorities Coming out of COVID-19.”
Health Evolution interviewed Kim about what the industry learned from convening to address the public health crisis, how those lessons can be applied to future challenges, what it will take to make health care more equitable, and more.
You recently moved into a new role as President of Takeda’s U.S. Business Unit and U.S. Country Head. What does this new position mean to you, and what are your objectives for the first year in this role?
Kim: Yes, I transitioned into the new role on April 1. It’s very exciting to lead the U.S. Business Unit and navigate the complexities of the US health care market during a pivotal time for Takeda. We have one of the most diverse and exciting pipelines in the industry. In fact, 90 percent of our pipeline didn’t exist less than a decade ago. We could potentially launch multiple new products by 2025 and it’s exciting to be part of an organization that would lead most of these launches. I look forward to working with an exceptionally talented group of employees who will be driving these efforts and helping to meet important patient needs.
As I’m taking on this new role, I see an opportunity to listen and learn from this team, who have led the business unit’s outstanding performance. I can’t wait to hear about their experiences with the organization and understand their priorities. I’m also interested in hearing what has helped them to perform at their best. I want to understand what those things are, and explore ways to add to, or enhance, that experience.
Tied to the overall employee experience is our return to office. As country head, one of my priorities is working across the organization to create an environment that supports our new ways of working in a hybrid manner. Because every organization approaches this differently, we’re going to experiment, learn and adjust along the way.
There were many lessons learned from COVID-19, but I’m interested to hear your perspective since you helped lead the charge in your previous role on the formation of and Takeda’s participation in the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. Can you tell us more about the alliance and how we can carry those learnings forward?
Kim: It’s certainly true that the pandemic led to some meaningful, first of its kind, collaborations to address the challenges of the public health crisis, like the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance. I am incredibly proud of how the plasma industry put the needs of patients — and the broader public good — above all else and combined expertise in research and development and enhanced the infrastructure for plasma collections and manufacturing. Together, and in record time, we developed and tested a non-branded plasma-derived therapy. Ultimately, the trial did not meet its endpoints, but we gained so much insight through the experience and contributed meaningfully to the knowledge base of COVID-19. I feel truly honored to have been part of that effort and hope that we can continue to look for ways that our industry can collaborate to solve patient challenges.