Efficiency as one of the keys to success in pharmaceuticals

Efficiency as one of the keys to success in pharmaceuticals

Harry Nardis, Chairman & Managing Director, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, sets the aim to achieve their vision, turning innovative science into value for patients


What does the ‘Changing Tomorrow’ ethos mean to you personally and how would you describe the impact of Astellas on global healthcare?

‘Changing Tomorrow’ is the quintessence of Astellas’ vision to turn innovative science into value for patients. We are passionate about Changing Tomorrow for the patients whose lives are affected by medical conditions not adequately addressed. Astellas has thousands of scientists working to transform today’s innovations in science and technology into tomorrow’s advances to provide value to patients.

We are determined to answer the unmet medical needs of people around the world, and the many healthcare professionals and caregivers who support them. We continually invest in new medicines, technologies and therapeutic areas, and work tirelessly to improve access to healthcare solutions for those that need them most.

How have you used this period of crisis to refocus, adapt, innovate and make Astellas in Greece more resilient and committed to patient needs?

The significant reduction in the public sector’s contribution to pharmaceutical spending has resulted in a shift to the private sector. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry for 2018 with rebate and clawback mechanisms has covered the needs of Greek patients for pharmaceutical coverage with one out of three medicines in out-patient and one in two medicines at hospital level.

However, Astellas continued its contribution to Greek society and was able to maintain the level of investment and employment for the company by collaborating with all stakeholders and by investing in the development of the competencies and skills of our people. With mandatory clawbacks and rebates, reaching 38 percent of our income, this is quite an achievement for the benefit of the patients.

“Astellas has built a leadership position and
a substantial oncology pipeline, currently delivering important treatments for both solid tumors and hematologic cancers.”
– Harry Nardis, Chairman & Managing Director, Astellas Pharmaceuticals

Clinical trials are an area with immense opportunity but it remains untapped in Greece. How much potential do you see in this field? Do you envision Greece becoming a hub for clinical trials?

The Greek government could take many actions in order to increase clinical R&D investment in Greece, by implementing the new EU Regulation for Clinical Trials, establishing tax benefits, creating a Clinical Research Governmental single point of contact, eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and modernizing the relevant legislation. Astellas, being an innovation-driven company, during the last three years conducted 24 clinical trials in Greece, in which 800 patients participated and 152 researchers contributed via 70 cooperating institutions. I am confident that if the infrastructure is in place in order to facilitate innovative pharmaceutical companies to make use of the exceptional human capital of Greece, Astellas will continue to consolidate even more its investment in clinical trials within Greece.

What part of your expenditure goes back into R&D and innovation? What can you tell us about new innovative products and the way of working that you have implemented recently?

Astellas reinvests a significant percentage of global annual sales back into R&D, helping our scientists develop innovative new therapies and technologies for patients. Astellas
has built a leadership position and a substantial oncology pipeline, currently delivering important treatments for both solid tumors and hematologic cancers. Through Astellas’ FASTEN Programme, it is able to accelerate innovation by supporting decisions at the pre-clinical/early clinical stage, which in turn speeds progression to phase three. Astellas is launching eight Virtual Venture Units as virtual organizations within the DDR Tsukuba organization that are tasked with identifying clinical candidates in current focus areas and focus areas of the future. AstellashasauniqueapproachtorecruitingresearchersthroughitsDrug Discovery Innovator Selection Camp, which helps identify individuals who create new forms of value and solve issues. The Astellas Research Multi-Career Paths HR Programme encourages innovation by empowering researchers to develop and lead their projects with autonomy. Astellas currently has over 100 ongoing collaborative research projects across the world with renowned academic, healthcare and biotechnology organizations. We believe that innovation drives success, not just for Astellas but also for patients, stakeholders and employees.