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Astellas Announces Key Senior Leadership Promotions and New Hire in Medical and Development Organization

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas is pleased to announce three recent senior-level promotions and one new hire within its Medical and Development (M&D) organization. Erkut Bahceci, M.D., was promoted to vice president of Medical Science for Hematology in the Oncology Therapeutic Area (TA); Leticia Delgado-Herrera was promoted to vice president, Rx+ M&D Head; Wendi Lau was promoted to vice president of Operational Improvement & Reporting Excellence (OIRE); and Juan Maya, M.D., joined Astellas as the vice president of Medical Science for the Medical Specialties TA.

Erkut Bahceci, M.D., was promoted to vice president of Medical Science for Hematology in the Oncology Therapeutic Area at Astellas

"I am thrilled that Erkut, Leticia, and Wendi were promoted and that Juan joined Astellas. Each one of these key leadership positions has a vital role in the success of the M&D organization," said Bernhardt G. Zeiher, M.D., chief medical officer (CMO) and president, Development, Astellas. "These leaders bring their tremendous expertise, diverse experience and dedication to their new roles to help us continue to deliver our corporate vision of turning innovative science into value for patients worldwide."

In his new role as vice president of Medical Science for Hematology within the Oncology TA, Bahceci will report directly to Steven Benner, M.D., senior vice president and TA Head, Oncology. He will be responsible for providing global medical leadership for development programs evaluating potential treatments for a variety of blood cancers.

Prior to his recent promotion, Bahceci served as executive medical director in the Oncology TA at Astellas and led the hematology group in Medical Oncology. He was the global medical lead for the gilteritinib program from the pre-clinical stage through the innovative clinical development plan, which led to recent regulatory approvals in Japan and the U.S., within five years.

Bahceci holds a medical degree from Marmara University in Turkey. He has received clinical residency training in Internal Medicine at Mercy Hospital in Chicago and National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Hematology and Oncology training at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of NIH. After completing his training he served as an Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Medicine in the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program.

In her new role, Delgado-Herrera will initially report to Benner to represent M&D for Astellas' new Rx+ capability, as part of Astellas' new Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP), with a dotted line reporting structure into Yuta Watanabe, vice president, Rx+ Business Accelerator. Delgado-Herrera will provide vision, leadership, and strategic direction for development plans, evaluation, and implementation of Rx+ in Astellas globally. This newly established function and role will ensure alignment cross-functionally, while also creating the appropriate structure to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Astellas' existing M&D functions and capabilities so the Company can successfully build Rx+ programs.

Delgado-Herrera has been with Astellas for 11 years. She most recently served as executive director, global development project leader (GDPL), Medical Specialties. During her tenure in the healthcare industry, Delgado-Herrera has published numerous articles, has achieved patents granted in several disease areas, and has received a number of industry awards. She is actively involved in several non-profit organizations, including advancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in youth education.

Delgado-Herrera earned an Associate of Science degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Biochemistry from the University Autonomous of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and a master's degree in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Illinois, College of Pharmacy. She is a Board Certified and Registered Pharmacist in Mexico.

In her newly appointed role, Lau will report directly to Nori Kuwahara, senior vice president, Planning & Administration. The central priority in Lau's new role will be maximizing operational excellence, a key strategic goal in the new CSP. Lau will be responsible for providing leadership of OIRE: a newly formed, strategic organization with a focus on utilizing integrated and continuous processes to help identify and evaluate cross-functional opportunities for operational excellence throughout the global M&D organization. A focus on value creation and risk reduction will be managed through the implementation of standards and metrics.

Lau has been with Astellas – and Fujisawa, one of the original founding companies that merged to create Astellas – for more than 27 years. She has served in a variety of leadership roles across the Company, including in Clinical Operations and Medical Writing. More recently, Lau headed a new organization, Business Operations and Portfolio Analytics (BOPA), to drive operational excellence, proactively support information management and deliver analytical tools to empower proactive and strategic decision making.

Lau has authored or co-authored six original research articles and a book chapter. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, a master's degree in Biology and is currently working on a doctorate degree in Regulatory Sciences from the University of Southern California. 

In his new role as vice president, Maya will report directly to Salim Mujais, M.D., senior vice president and TA Head, Medical Specialties. He will play a leading role in overseeing the medical team within Development across several under-served areas of significant unmet need, including urology, nephrology, women's health, immunology, infectious diseases, CNS and chronic pain.

Maya has a career spanning more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry and over five years of experience in academia. Maya joins Astellas from Amgen where he served in roles at both the global development and U.S. medical lead levels for cardiovascular treatment programs.

Maya has been involved in more than 150 clinical trials and has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. In his academic career, Maya was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Indiana University in Indianapolis, and has held appointments at the Universidad del Valle in Colombia and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Maya received his medical and master's degrees in Basic Pharmacology from Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Clinical Pharmacology fellowship at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Maya is American Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology, and also has training in Pharmacometrics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.   

About Astellas
Astellas Pharma Inc., based in Tokyo, Japan, is a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information, please visit our website at 


Leticia Delgado-Herrera was promoted to vice president, Rx+ Medical and Development Head, at Astellas

Wendi Lau was promoted to vice president of Operational Improvement & Reporting Excellence (OIRE) for Medical and Development at Astellas

Juan Maya, M.D., joined Astellas as the vice president of Medical Science for the Medical Specialties Therapeutic Area

Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world. (PRNewsFoto/Astellas Pharma Inc.)

SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.

For further information: Stefanie Prodouz, Medical & Development Communications, Astellas, TEL: +1 312-772-0050, EMAIL:
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