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Takeda Pharmaceuticals Establishes $3 Million Endowment with AGA Foundation

Gift Will Fund Annual James W. Freston Single Topic Conference Series for

Gastroenterology Research

BETHESDA, Md., May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) announced a gift of $3 million from Takeda Pharmaceuticals to establish The Takeda Endowment Fund within the AGA Foundation's overall endowment. Interest earned from The Takeda Endowment Fund will provide annual support for an AGA Institute Single Topic Conference. The annual conference will be named in honor of former AGA President and past AGA Foundation Chair, James W. Freston, MD, PhD.

"This contribution will make the science of gastroenterology stronger," said AGA FDHN Chair, Sidney Cohen, MD. "We are extraordinarily pleased and appreciative of Takeda's philanthropic investment in the field of gastroenterology. This endowment grant differs from education grants, which while very important, usually represent support for a single event or project. The Takeda Endowment Fund will provide support for the James W. Freston Conferences in perpetuity. Consequently, we are very excited about the long-term positive health outcomes that The Takeda Endowment Fund will foster."

The purpose of the James W. Freston Single Topic Conference is to bring together scientists in the gastrointestinal field to discuss important scientific issues relevant to the practice of gastroenterology. Conference topics will be identified by the Governing Board of the AGA Institute and conference directors will be world-recognized AGA members and scientific leaders within the specialty. Because understanding of basic concepts in medical science often precedes advances in translational research and improvements in patient care, The Takeda Endowment Fund will support efforts to improve patient health in the years ahead.

"Single topic conferences are cutting-edge opportunities to foster discussion, engage and update gastrointestinal professionals on new and emerging technologies, research discoveries and other relevant topics leading to the advancement of the practice of gastroenterology," said Nicholas LaRusso, AGA Institute president.

"As part of Takeda's strong commitment to society, we have a long history of supporting science and medical education as we pursue our mission of promoting better health for individuals and progress in medicine," said Nancy Joseph-Ridge, M.D., president, Takeda Global Research and Development Center, Inc. "We believe that with the development of the James W. Freston Single Topic Conferences, we are able to better contribute to the gastrointestinal practice and bring forth new ideas and discoveries to benefit the well-being of patients."

"The Takeda Endowment funds will provide a strong base of private support from which solid future conference planning can occur. Conference directors can focus on planning scientific objectives and not worry about fund-raising for the conference budget. This will provide tremendous freedom, especially for emerging issues and problems that need prompt attention," said David A. Peura, MD, and AGA FDHN vice chair.

The first James W. Freston Conference will be held in September, 2009. Every third year the Freston Conference will be in Chicago and alternate sites will be selected for the intervening years. Conference details may be found at
This conference will be important to address the following issues:

-- There are more than 300 digestive diseases that adversely affect the

lives of more than 65 million Americans and thirty percent of

Americans suffer a gastroenterological illness each year, resulting in

more than eight million hospital admissions and 30 million doctor


-- At least 40 million Americans are burdened with chronic digestive

conditions that disrupt their lives. More Americans are hospitalized

for digestive diseases than for any other type of illness.

-- Nearly one in four cancer deaths is related to the digestive system.

-- The annual costs associated with digestive diseases have continued to

rise to an all time high of more than $85 billion and the magnitude of

this problem is increasing rapidly.

-- Since 1985, the number of people suffering digestive health problems

in the United States has climbed by 20 percent. By 2025, the United

States population's average life expectancy will increase from 77 to

82 years. Because many digestive diseases occur as people age,

incidences may skyrocket.

The AGA is dedicated to the mission of advancing the science and practice of gastroenterology. Founded in 1897, the AGA is one of the oldest medical-specialty societies in the United States. The AGA's more than 15,000 members include physicians and scientists who research, diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. For more information, visit

The AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) is the foundation of the AGA. The Foundation's ultimate mission mirrors that of the AGA: to improve the human condition through understanding, preventing, diagnosing and curing digestive diseases. Separately incorporated and governed by a distinguished board of AGA physicians and the lay public, the Foundation raises funds for research and public education. Donors to the Foundation include AGA physicians, patients and family members of those who suffer from digestive diseases, national foundations and the pharmaceutical industry. For more information, visit the Foundation's Web site at Donors interested in contributing to the Foundation may contact the Foundation offices at (301) 222-4002.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.

Based in Deerfield, Ill., Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. In the United States, Takeda currently markets products for diabetes, insomnia, wakefulness and gastroenterology. Through the Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Inc. the company has a robust pipeline with compounds in development for diabetes, gastroenterology, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Takeda is committed to striving toward better health for individuals and progress in medicine by developing superior pharmaceutical products. To learn more about the company and its products, visit

SOURCE American Gastroenterological Association Foundation
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