Astellas has taken a significant stride to formalize the way in which it builds the patient and caregiver perspective into its clinical development program with the recent creation of its Early-Stage Pipeline ‘Playbook’. Designed to serve as an internal resource to facilitate discussion and better understand the priorities of stakeholders, including providers, payers, policy makers and patients, the ‘Playbook’ ensures Astellas gains the necessary feedback on its efforts to best reflect patient engagement and voice throughout the development continuum.
Developed in collaboration with the patient advocacy community and multiple functions across Astellas, the aim is to place patients at the heart of the organization, to enable stakeholders to be involved throughout drug development and ultimately deliver meaningful products that improve patients’ lives.
More than just a step-by-step guide, the objective of the ‘Playbook’ is to embed a change of mindset within the organization across all levels and functions, from senior management to those working with patient advocacy groups and patients in their day-to-day jobs. It contains both practical guidance and a framework to help teams focus on value-driven clinical development with an emphasis on patients throughout.
“Our work with advocacy leaders helps us better understand their priorities and identify opportunities to collaborate with the patient community,” explains Christeen Moburg, Director, Stakeholder Engagement, Americas Region. “We rely on the advocacy community to make sure we best reflect the patient voice throughout our business.”
Central to this is the ability to ask questions and seek feedback from patients/caregivers and patient advocacy groups on a range of topics, from patient engagement in clinical trials to improving the relevance of educational programs and tools for the individual patient or caregiver. As Moburg notes, “We are already acting on suggestions we’ve received on the Change Together website, which launched in April this year, so that we continue to publish engaging and useful content and develop a useful platform for sharing information and best practices among the advocacy community.”
Alicia Tozier, Director, Marketing Strategy, who is leading the ‘Playbook’ initiative, is currently traveling around the globe on a roadshow to introduce the ‘Playbook’ mindset at Astellas’ offices in Leiden, UK and Japan. She commented, “The ‘Playbook’ mindset helps to ensure we bring products to market that improve patients’ lives, while also meeting evolving stakeholder needs.”
So far there has been an extremely positive response from everyone involved, both internally and externally. “Colleagues are pleased to have a formalized approach to gain patient insights,” Moburg says. “We’ve always had patient focus at the core of our business, but this program formalizes the approach.” Externally, patient advocacy groups have also reacted well to the initiative, noting that Astellas is working to instill the patient and caregiver perspective in their development initiatives and overall business ethos.