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Collaborating Globally and Leading
the Way in Clinical Development

Development Project Management, Project Management 2G Takahiro Sato

Contributing to the world with the power of immunoengineering

I completed my studies in bioengineering rather than pharmaceutical sciences. Although I wasn’t from the school of medicine or pharmacy, I decided to join the research lab for immunoengineering because I wanted to learn more about the human body and disease treatments and to make a difference in the world. At that time, I heard about monitoring and clinical trial management from my senior in college who had landed a clinical development position at a pharmaceutical company, and that sparked my interest in pursuing my current career.

Our dedication to helping patients brings our team together

I work in Project Management 2G of Development Project Management, where we manage development projects in the oncology field. In addition to managing budgets and timelines, we work as project managers and collaborate with specialized departments in Japan as well as the global development team to promote the development of our products in Japan.

Clinical development requires collaboration with numerous internal and external stakeholders. Therefore, things often don’t go as planned due to the differences in our viewpoints, which I believe is a necessary process in promoting constructive development. While we may have conflicting ideas, we still share the same goal of “working for patients.” One of the highlights of clinical development is the sense of team cohesion that we achieve when we’re able to reach an agreement by considering why the other person is disagreeing and how we can find a compromise by working together through trial and error.

One of the memorable events that reminded me of the importance of communication was when I was handling a clinical trial that was being conducted to obtain approval in China. As China was in a transitional period for pharmaceutical product regulation at that time, we were required to confirm the quality of the clinical research data and write and gather reports to submit to the regulating authority. Unfortunately, it took quite a while for them to proceed with our case as there were many other clinical trials being conducted at the hospital. Although we generally ask the outsourcing local CRA (clinical research associate) for support, I decided to speak directly with the on-site doctor in English as I thought I needed to act proactively as a client. By taking the initiative and working together with the local staff, we were able to prompt our project to move forward.
After successfully applying and obtaining approval, I was certain that our passion for medicines and dedication to delivering our medicines to patients could be conveyed to other healthcare workers across the globe.

I always consider what I can and should do to deliver medicines and treatments to patients as soon as possible. In drug development, it’s vital to plan and implement ideas by recognizing the changing trends in the healthcare industry based on data collected from clinical and non-clinical trials and information on competing firms and the latest healthcare environment. I always try to turn my thoughts into actions while asking myself if my decision is really optimal and beneficial for patients.

Creating new medical solutions with a new approach

I have been fortunate to work on several products that were able to obtain approval. Although I’m currently working as one of the assigned staff members, I would eventually like to work on a project from scratch and obtain approval for the drug as the project leader. Our team is responsible for the oncology field, but there are various types of cancers, such as stomach, lung, and pancreatic cancer, with each organ having different etiologies and causes for the cancer to worsen. We have recently been developing medicines by choosing specific types of cancers and taking an increasingly segmented approach. I want to take the lead in global development to continue delivering new healthcare solutions to patients.

Astellas has an organizational culture that supports employees who aspire to grow. The company also offers various education and on-the-job training opportunities, as well as self-learning courses and training for those who are interested. You can also customize the courses according to your workload and your own level of growth. I have attended a tutorial for people working in pharmaceutical companies and have also been actively trying out things that interest me, such as attending domestic and international academic conferences and taking up overseas assignments. Astellas is a perfect place for those who want to develop and improve themselves. I highly recommend anyone with the same aspiration to come and challenge themselves here.

Development department introduction