Recognizing the need for patient participation in healthcare decision-making, personalized therapies, and engaging and incorporating their perspective in drug development and approval, Astellas announced that it has implemented a leadership structure and operating model for its global patient-centricity organization.

The company’s patient-centricity approach is designed to support the development of innovative health solutions through a deep understanding of the patient experience, medical needs, and the behavioral drivers of care.

In an episode of The Onco’Zine Brief Peter Hofland, spoke with Anthony Yanni, M.D., Senior Vice President, Patient Centricity at Astellas. In this role, Yanni is responsible for leading the development and execution of Astellas’ global patient-centricity strategy. Click on the link to listen to the program.

Understanding patient centricity
A decade ago, patient-centricity wasn’t even a concept. New and drugs and therapies were developed if scientists could achieve innovation. The actual, real-world, and often unmet medical needs and the perspectives of the patient were not included.

The idea of the ‘patient-centricity,’ concept originally stems from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service -governing principle of “no decision about me, without me,” which requires care to be personalized to reflect people’s needs, not those of the professional or the system. [1][2]

In the most advanced form, ‘patient-centricity’ is about the meaningful use of insights from patients to support the development of healthcare solutions, including the development of novel and innovative therapeutics.

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Patient-centricity requires companies to have a ‘listening ear’ – to listen to the patient, to listen to what they think and understand – and really understand what they mean.

More than a catchphrase
And while ‘patient-centricity’ has become a catchphrase that in itself doesn’t mean much of anything, Astellas is working to change this by establishing a structure and operating model for its global patient-centricity organization to help guide the company in improving the health of people around the world,

Anthony Yanni, M.D., Senior Vice President, Patient Centricity at Astellas: “….we have now in place a best-in-class team dedicated to ensuring [that] Astellas brings a conscious awareness of the patient to everything we do…”
Directed by Anthony Yanni M.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head of Patient Centricity, the organization will include of four distinct teams, each working together to apply unique insights from patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and advocacy partners in considering how to prioritize the company’s resources to the projects with the potential to have the biggest impact on patients’ lives.

“Drug development has historically focused exclusively on scientific possibility rather than integrating real-world patient insights – especially in the research space. We’ve established processes that balance ‘Can We?’ with ‘Should We?’,” Yanni noted.

Research and discovery
“To be most-effective, however, integration of the patient perspective must start early in the research and discovery process and be incorporated throughout the continuum through to development and utilization.

This comprehensive approach to patient-focused medicine development is what makes Astellas Patient Centricity unique, and I am thrilled with the talent we have attracted and the momentum we have established to make this vision a reality.”

Real-world patient needs
As part of the new structure, Yanni announced a leadership team based in the U.S. and the company’s global headquarters in Japan, which includes industry veterans Joe Collins (Head of Medical Intelligence and Patient Insights), Deepti Jaggi (Head of Patient Insights and Solutions), Lisa Mattle, (Head of the Behavioral Science Consortium) and Doug Noland, Head of Patient Partnerships.

Yanni noted that each member of his team has a deep commitment to innovating based on an intimate understanding of real-world patient needs.

“With these leaders, and the many colleagues around the world who have joined Patient Centricity over the past few months, we have now in place a best-in-class team dedicated to ensuring Astellas brings a conscious awareness of the patient to everything we do,” Yanni said.

“At the end of the day,” he concluded, “We are not here to treat a patient – we’re here to care for a person. Having a conscious awareness of that person in every activity, from every area of the company, every single day, ensures we’ll create truly meaningful innovations.”

[1] Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Health by Command of Her Majesty July 2010. Online. Last accessed September 23, 2020
[2] Government response to the consultation ‘Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me. Department of Health. Published December 2012. Online. Last accessed on September 23, 2020.

Featured image: Astellas booth during the 2019 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Photo courtesy: © 2019 – 2020 Synvalley Communication. Used with permission.

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