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Convert my experiences and
expertise into valuesin a
new environment

Rx+ Business Accelerator Kinuyo Hattori

To face healthcare issues head-on

At the telecommunications company I worked at for about 17 years after graduating from university, I started with corporate sales and then became engaged in other fields such as sales planning and new business development. I think that getting involved in new business development in the healthcare industry there was when I first became interested in working in medicine and healthcare. Specifically, I took part in planning an app for pregnant women, and business development of a B-to-B solution targeting fitness groups. It was motivating to hear comments from users about the convenience of the app we actually planned and created. However, healthcare is an unfamiliar area to a telecommunications company, and if the business does not lead to immediate profit, it is withdrawn. Although, the reality is that it is difficult to expect immediate outcomes in the healthcare area. After I left the telecommunications company, I worked at several ventures until I finally came across Astellas. Here I felt as if I could settle down and tackle healthcare issues long term, so I decided to take up the opportunity to work at Astellas and focus on healthcare and medicine.

To spark ideas that capture customer needs

I belong to Rx+ Business Accelerator, where we are working on approaches other than prescription drugs (Rx), such as digital tools like apps as well as sensing technology. By utilizing these in healthcare, treatment, or prevention, we are hoping to convert scientific development into value for patients. We work on various targets and solutions: one team is exploring treatment programs that use apps, and another team is working on solutions to reduce the burden of healthcare professionals, for instance. Astellas, as a pharmaceutical company, has the expert evidence and technology to reach out and help people who are really suffering. However, such technology-driven business development can easily lose the perspective of customer needs. The company has expected me from the very beginning to keep that perspective and utilize the knowledge gained from past experience to emphasize to my colleagues the importance of considering customer needs. To meet this expectation, I am involved in several projects to encourage business ideas and services based on customer needs. That means we are creating something unprecedented in a pharmaceutical company, so we need to examine the business model from the ground up, including how to reach users and generate profit. We must overcome so many new challenges, which makes this job demanding and rewarding at the same time.

The positive aspect of this division is that it is composed of people with a variety of backgrounds, such as in research, MR, and marketing. In terms of diversity, there are also global members located abroad in the US and the UK, and I feel that helps lead to new discoveries through different ways of thinking. For example, an idea considered inappropriate due to cultural and regulatory aspects in Japan may sometimes open up possibilities when you look at it based on other countries.

You never know what will turn out to be a seed of a new idea in everyday life when you are involved in developing new businesses. I make sure to stay interested, socialize proactively, listen to others, and think about what I can do. In that respect, I am grateful that internal information sharing is common at Astellas, making it easy to interact with other divisions. When I was working for a non-pharmaceutical company, although I was involved in the healthcare area, I did not have much chance to directly hear from patients. After joining Astellas, I have more opportunities to absorb technical expertise, and I feel I have further opportunities to learn and grow. I hope to increase internal communications within my division and spark many more ideas.

An environment that is welcoming and accepting of new challenges

Since I joined Astellas, I have always thought that the people here are very generous and flexible. There are many mid-career employees like me, and there is no such thing as cliques. Because everyone here treats me as an equal, I feel very comfortable joining them. I think that is why the company has succeeded in globalizing and continues to grow. When I joined, Astellas provided training for us mid-career employees, and many of us had no background in healthcare or medicine. This shows how people without any experience in this industry are given the opportunity to actively work here at Astellas and utilize their skills and expertise.

At the same time, the passion to “create something truly effective based on evidence” is cultivated through drug development and has taken root; there must be no compromise on this point. Even people working in divisions that are not directly involved in drug discovery are expected to show sincerity when facing problems experienced by patients.

If you desire to take on challenges without a fear of change, have empathy with Astellas’ VISION and a sincere desire to create a better future for patients, I recommend you to take the first step.

Corporate Functions department introduction