Read the Conversation

EF: Looking back, 2020 was the year of diagnostics, and 2021 was the year of vaccines. What will 2022 be the year of, and why? 

SR: This is the year of innovation because we need to transform our healthcare system in preparation for future opportunities for our patients to access new medicines and treatments and improve their health in general, a lesson we've learned from the past two years of the pandemic. Now, it is the moment to identify new opportunities to provide access and new medicines for better treatments and sustainable healthcare delivery.   

EF: What are your roles and objectives at Astellas to raise awareness for non-communicable diseases and patient care?

SR: In our country, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to treat our patients proactively, and not only Astellas. Raising awareness for non-communicable diseases and patient care is the responsibility of all healthcare actors. At Astellas, we believe that more early and accurate diagnostics are critical to better patient treatment outcomes and sustainable healthcare systems.

We also have a chance to provide better options and treatments for patients. The pandemic was an eye-opener to new thoughts and opportunities to proactively treat, recognize the risks, and the correct treatment for our patients. 

EF: What attracted you to Astellas, and what goals did you set for yourself when you joined? 

SR: Joining Astellas was one of the most important decisions in my life because it was fueled by my strong commitment, motivation, and engagement. Astellas is a great company with three attributes: One, it's a very diverse and inclusive organization. One of the most important priorities for me is that everyone has equal opportunities in an organization. 

Second, the organization is oriented to work in cooperation between people, where everyone supports each other in solidarity. 

Third, innovation and portfolio of the products. Astellas has a strong global portfolio for the future in oncology, immunology, gene therapies, and new treatments to ensure we are aligned with the company's mission to continue supporting patients for days to come. I am very excited about this new responsibility and the opportunity to help patients in Latin America. 

EF: What can be done to increase partnerships in Colombia, and what can be achieved through this? 

SR: Astellas is a Japanese company rooted in innovative and collaborative culture across the markets. It's, therefore, a no-brainer that we've partnered with stakeholders, institutions, governments, healthcare providers, and the community. 

It's our most important responsibility as a part of our corporate definition and strategy of our organization, hence the importance of identifying opportunities to provide win-win relationships with different stakeholders. 

EF: Could you elaborate on your DX initiative and its transformation at Astellas in Colombia? 

SR: We've been working hard to bring innovation to patients by being ahead with digital transformation in the organization. This is a priority for the country, the healthcare system, and all stakeholders involved. In this new program, we aim to know the needs of our different customers and healthcare providers while generating value. 

Astellas is working internally on the digital transformation, including how to bring new, more innovative options for patients in treatment and how we can improve our capabilities and structure to be more agile and entrepreneurial for the future. Our target is to ensure that it's an organization whose aim is to be an external project that impacts patients being treated with the right treatment and at the right time. With different medical and non-medical stakeholders, we are finding new ways to communicate with them, especially because the world has changed after the pandemic. We are also thinking about how we can impact more HCPs or stakeholders through different digital channels and strategies. 

EF: Do you have anything you can tell us about the implementation of AI in Colombia? 

SR: Digital transformation and artificial intelligence are key to providing more patient opportunities. When implementing AI in healthcare is important to understand mainly the needs of the patient, the medical community, and the needs of all the stakeholders involved in the sector. 

In Astellas, we are working on the precision medicine area that will be key in the future to treat patients globally according to personalized medicine principles. Based on our experience in other markets in Japan and US, we are trying to identify the best way to implement in Colombia. It's one of the most important priorities and projects that we are now working on. 

EF: What are three pieces of advice you would give the new generation of women leaders to be successful as you are? 

SR: My greatest priority is to provide my legacy to many people in Latin America. You need these three powerful tools and behaviour in mind as part of leadership and to mobilize organizations while leaving a legacy among people, communities, and the organization. 

Number one is to have a purpose. We need to have a clearer purpose in our personal and professional life. The second one is to be genuine. The third one is to promote diversity and inclusion in the organization and community. 

EF: What will be your speech to your employee celebrating an achieved mission at the end of the year? 

SR: I intend to say many things to my team. We will talk about Astellas's future; this is a unique company. Astellas is a mature organization dating more than 126 years back. It has a strong reputation for integrity, principles, and values. 

As their leader, it's important to tell my team that it's a unique company with a strong culture of values and principles. Second, Astellas has room for expansion in the future with a strong portfolio of new products to cover patients' medical needs.

Third, we are the best organization that has ever graced the pharmaceutical industry, coupled with many values and behaviours. Fourth, we need to enjoy life. Our employees must enjoy every moment we have the opportunity to be together. We will celebrate exemplary performance this year, passing all set targets.  

EF: Is there anything else you would like to communicate with our audience, our readers?

SR: I would like to close by saying Astellas is a very strong organization with an important mission to turn innovative science into value for patients, addressing unmet medical needs by monitoring the changes in healthcare from multiple perspectives. We are working on that with a strong commitment and real interest to continue looking for more opportunities for our employees and patients worldwide. 

August 2022