The Astellas Way Blog

Welcome to The Astellas Way: A Conversation About the Future of Healthcare

by Jim Robinson, President, Astellas Americas

Sep 12, 2016

The prodigious inventor Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

When I joined Astellas in 2005, I couldn’t help but notice a common trait that is inherent in our global organization. Employees across the company come to work every day knowing that one last try could make all the difference to patients and families who rely on the medicines that we develop.

As I wrote in a recent Forbes op-ed, we are living in the most consequential period for medicine that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Every day, our team at Astellas is working together to advance the science that will shape the future of health care. Without question, ‘science fiction’ is truly becoming ‘science reality.’

Collaborating for Patients and the Advancement of Science

Today, we’re collaborating with some of the most innovative organizations in the world – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, MD Anderson Cancer Center and many others – to tackle challenges that few thought solvable at the turn of this century. We’re collaborating with patient advocates and the communities they represent to ensure that the patient voice is front and center at all times. And we’re working closely with health systems throughout the country as they provide efficient, high-quality patient care.

In this spirit, I’m proud to kick off a new conversation and introduce The Astellas Way blog, a dynamic forum that will feature the thoughts of leaders from across our company and beyond. At Astellas, we know that a constant exchange of ideas will help keep us looking forward.

Three Questions for Public and Private Sector Leaders

I’d like to open with three questions that have been on my mind for some time. In short, public and private sector leaders have a time-sensitive opportunity to take a step back and ensure that we’re focused on the right outcomes as we navigate this unique period of scientific advancement and healthcare evolution.

  • First, what if patients were placed at the center of every decision made in health care? This patient-centric approach shouldn’t be limited to care delivery, but must be a centerpiece of the laboratory, the boardroom, formulary committees and government institutions like Congress and the FDA. 
  • Second, what would happen if medicine and medical invention were viewed as key components of our nation’s economic and global competitiveness agendas? We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible when we help millions by treating and preventing costly diseases.
  • Third, what if focusing on what I like to call “a decade of firsts” guided our efforts? In other words, we’re increasingly in a position to imagine what’s possible 10 years from now – and to align long-term decisions and policymaking with these possibilities.

Leading an Ideas-Based Conversation

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll cover key topics that will determine how quickly these questions become a reality. We’ll challenge ourselves to adopt new ways of thinking and provide opportunities to share your thoughts through social media. Above all, we want to ensure that this is an informative and useful experience for everyone in this dynamic community.

I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry as a sales representative at Schering-Plough. There, I learned first-hand how I could make a difference in patients’ lives. And that’s what attracted me to Astellas over a decade ago – being part of a talented and unique culture that always tries one more time and fosters innovation by keeping patients at the center of everything we do.

I’m excited for the future of Astellas and look forward to a new conversation about the future of health care. Most importantly, I’m eager to explore how we can achieve it together.