Feature Stories

Running a Biopharma Company During A Pandemic

Nov 10, 2020

From the outset of COVID-19, Astellas has taken a comprehensive approach to help ensure sustained support for our employees, the patients we serve, and the communities where we work and live. Astellas Pharma President Percival Barretto-Ko recently shared our company’s efforts to navigate these unprecedented challenges in a 1:1 virtual discussion aired as part of the Biopharma Congress.

During the interview, Percival reflected on the mindset that guided Astellas’ actions and some of the tangible steps taken.

“I’m a believer of the thought that cultures are truly tested in times of uncertainty… and I’m very proud of how my team at Astellas and all of the employees have really risen to the challenge of supporting each other during these tough times,” he stated. “I think it’s important that in times of uncertainty and distress you go back to your values and… you crystallize what matters most to you and your organization, and for us its really rooted in three pillars: it’s patients, it’s people and performance.”

COVID-19 has brought to the forefront important issues around health equity and access that are deeply rooted in our society. At the same time, our nation has faced a difficult period of social unrest. Percival addressed these dynamics, reflecting on Astellas’ long-standing efforts to instill a diverse and inclusive culture.

“Looking ahead, I think there’s an obligation and certainly an opportunity for us to consider how these short-term policies that we’re setting right now, that have been adopted during the pandemic, can translate to meaningful long-term impact to address inequities,” Percival remarked. “This is why diversity and inclusion are key strategic tenets for us: it’s not just a nice to have, it’s business critical if we’re going to truly call ourselves a patient organization, part of a patient centric industry.”

The Biopharma Congress is an event hosted annually in Washington, DC by Prevision Policy and Friends of Cancer Research. This year’s virtual format featured a series of 1:1 interviews and panel discussions with government leaders, industry experts, and other thought leaders in the field.