Astellas and Chicago State University College of Pharmacy Partner to Develop a Distinct Opportunity for Students

Astellas provides biopharma industry experience for PharmD students

When Astellas learned that the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy did not offer a biopharma industry rotation as part of their experiential education program for fourth year PharmD students, we quickly acted to create that opportunity for them.

David Fryrear, Astellas executive vice president and head of Quality Assurance, and Tywnia Brewton, Astellas head of Human Resources, Global Development and Global Quality, worked together to develop the requirements and guidelines for an industry rotation program and partnered with the College of Pharmacy leadership team to customize an exclusive program for the school.

“We’re honored to be partnering with the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, a university that provides higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs, as we work together to provide students with a distinct resume of experiences once they graduate,” said Fryrear. “Through this program we can introduce future pharmacists to working in the industry, learn from their work and insights and cultivate the next generation of PharmD leaders.” 

The program, Advanced Pharmaceutical Practice Experience (APPE), is a 6-week rotation in Astellas Quality Assurance for students who have expressed interest in pursuing a career in industry. The APPE program offers selected students the opportunity to gain industry experience such as, becoming familiar with Astellas pharmaceutical products, understanding how products are brought to the market and then managed once approved, roles that a pharmacist may fulfill within the industry, and how Quality Assurance supports and contributes to the pharmaceutical industry.

“During the APPE program, I’m thankful to have experienced the inclusive culture at Astellas as everyone I met was welcoming, enthusiastic, and took interest in my professional and personal development,” said Ayisha Stanley, Chicago State University PharmD student. “The program showed me that there’s a place for pharmacists in the industry, but there’s also a place for Chicago State University pharmacists as well.”


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Similarly, Aundriana Burtley, Chicago State University PharmD student, stated that she had the opportunity to witness a “culture of quality” at Astellas and enjoyed the welcoming culture that was unique and unlike any other she had ever experienced. “I gained an understanding of the variety of functional areas at Astellas and how the industry embraces PharmDs and values the knowledge and expertise that we bring to the table.”


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Following her graduation in May, Aundriana will be joining Astellas as an Associate Manager of Clinical Quality Assurance. 

During her rotation, Astellas and Chicago State University sponsored Jazmyne Durrah Simmons, Chicago State University PharmD student, to travel to and attend the Drug Information Association (DIA) Conference.

“Attending this conference was an eye-opening experience as I was able to listen and learn from people from all walks of life within the industry,” said Durrah Simmons. “One takeaway that resonated with me the most were the conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical trials. This lit a fire under me, and I can see myself pursuing this area of interest in the future.” Read more about her experience with DIA here.


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Astellas is proud to have provided these outstanding students with an enriching experience that they will carry with them beyond graduation and with everlasting connections within the industry. We hosted six students this year and are excited to expand the program to even more students next year.

Learn more about our culture of diversity and inclusion, and about career opportunities with Astellas here.


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