Feature Stories

Astellas Executive Interview Series – Srinivasu Poondru

May 30, 2018

We sat down with Srinivasu Poondru, Executive Director of Clinical Pharmacology and Exploratory Development, to learn more about his career in oncology, including his passion for drug development and his hope for the future of healthcare.

What is your experience/background with oncology? Why did you decide to pursue this line of work?

I earned a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and have more than 18 years of experience in oncology drug discovery and development. Even when I was in pharmacy school, I was interested in working in pharmaceutical industry; however, entering into oncology was serendipitous. My first exposure to oncology Phase 1 clinical trials at Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University during my post-doctoral fellowship increased my desire to continue a career in oncology.

What are the biggest advancements Astellas Oncology has made to date?

Within a short period of establishment, Astellas Oncology has two flagship products on market and several compounds in pipeline, including both small and large molecules in areas of personalized medicine and immunotherapy.

What project or activity has given you the greatest sense of pride, and why?

I am proud to be part of building Biomarkers and Companion Diagnostics (CDx) expertise within the Development function. Our goal is to identify the right patient population who can benefit from Astellas candidate drugs. What motivates me to come to work every day is that our compounds are helping cancer patients in clinical studies, even though not all compounds become marketed products. My group functions as an interface between Discovery and Development in translating pre-clinical research into clinical benefit for patients.

How will today’s trials and efforts play into the future of healthcare?

Prolonging lives of cancer patients with various treatments has been incremental over the years. I think current efforts on treatment modalities using a patient’s own immune system may bring treatments closer to curing many cancers, if not all.