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Executive MBA (EMBA) alumnus Stefano De Socio Lardani and his team’s work at biopharmaceutical giant Takeda recognised by Eurordis award.

Stefano De Socio Lardani.

A digital health project led by Stefano De Socio Lardani (EMBA 2017) has helped lead biopharmaceutical company Takeda to a European Black Pearl award win.

MyHAE, a digital health platform developed to advance patient care for an immunological rare disease, was one of four assets submitted to the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) that contributed to Takeda’s success in the Company Award for Patient Engagement category.

The app-based MyHAE platform, which is available in 18 countries across four continents, helps patients and healthcare professionals monitor the course of the disease and make informed treatment decisions.

Stefano, Global Director for Portfolio Management, Genetic & Immunology Diseases, led the MyHAE project from design to launch. Steering over 40 cross-functional team members, encompassing functions both internal, such as medical affairs, quality control and legal, and external, including patient focus groups and clinicians, the entire project was guided, Stefano says, by the desire to get the best results for patients.

“When we initiated the project, we spent significant resources identifying real, unmet medical needs across the patient journey, combined with co-development with the patients to gather their input and testing,” says Stefano.

“Secondly, digital health applications are nothing without a solid launch and engagement strategy,” he continues. “We planned and executed a flawless strategy to ensure a successful launch across the globe and a retention plan based on performance monitoring, continuous feedback to better understand the experience and ultimately ensure we can develop new features to address growing and incremental needs.”

Stefano considers the award the ‘cherry on the cake’ following his team’s “remarkable efforts and unwavering commitment to the rare disease community”.

The annual EURORDIS Black Pearl Award celebrates commitment, dedication and achievements that deliver positive impacts for those living with rare diseases. Winners in other categories include Cambridge-based non-for-profit AKU Society and gene therapy specialist Orchard Therapeutics. In 2020, Cambridge-based Healx, founded by Cambridge Judge Fellow in Entrepreneurship Tim Guilliams, picked up the Company Award for Innovation.

In his role at Takeda, Stefano is responsible for managing the life-cycle of the product portfolio, and the go-to-market and expansion strategies. He also scouts, identifies, and develops personalised health solutions to accelerate diagnosis and increase treatment adherence.

Prior to joining Takeda, Stefano worked for healthcare multinationals Sanofi, Chiesi and Roche, making the transition to Takeda in 2018 while part-way through his Executive MBA at Cambridge Judge.

“Given the heterogeneity of my role, I’m responsible for complex projects and leading multiple teams. Specifically for the MyHAE project, I’ve found skills developed on the Management Science core course essential for contingency planning,” he says. “Understanding organisational behaviour has also been vital to steer teams with different backgrounds and personalities to success. Applying design-thinking processes helped me blend incremental and radical elements within the final asset – an approach to innovation that was crystalised during my time on the Cambridge Executive MBA.”