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Creating a Scientific Reputation for Astellas: The Astellas Corporate Scientific Innovation Narrative

The Astellas Scientific Innovation Narrative toolkit, a first of its kind initiative, was developed to help Astellas leaders deliver powerful and compelling strategic communications, internally and externally. The Narrative brought together a complex matrix of different innovation functions under one messaging platform, across geographies and languages, to describe scientific innovation at Astellas. The objective of the Narrative was to differentiate and communicate the company’s unique approach to innovation and pipeline in an extremely competitive external innovation environment and, persuasively and consistently, convey Astellas’ scientific story to key internal and external stakeholders – ultimately, to build Astellas’ corporate scientific reputation and enhance its perception as a ‘company of choice’ among potential innovation partners and current/prospective employees.

The business need

Astellas is a top 25 global pharmaceutical company with a research and development (R&D) approach centered on the delivery of breakthrough innovations for maximum patient benefit. With the pharmaceutical industry in a state of rapid change, companies such as Astellas are navigating an environment that is continually evolving and being shaped by a multitude of factors. One key area is scientific innovation. The way pharma companies discover, research and develop innovation is undergoing a revolution – the old model of in-house development teams is becoming a thing of the past. Now pharma is looking outwards, for high-quality partnerships with academia and biotechnology companies, creating a new competitive frontier in the industry; a frontier which will decide the winners of the future.

In addition, pharma is dealing with multiple pressures such as increased competition, access and policy regulations, the needs of different geographical markets, and intense pricing pressure from payors. These factors, combined with unprecedented competition for hiring and retaining talent means, more than ever before, the companies that will emerge victorious will need a powerful, compelling, consistent story, communicated internally and externally, across all touchpoints.

Working within this challenging environment, it is vital that leaders of pharmaceutical companies can effectively communicate their scientific innovation positioning and pipeline in order to connect with key stakeholders, forge meaningful partnerships and clearly differentiate from competitors. However, prior to this initiative, Astellas’ leaders were not equipped with consistent, strategically aligned and engaging messaging to enable them to articulate, with one single voice and global story, the company’s approach to scientific innovation and pipeline. As a result, before the Astellas Scientific Innovation Narrative, there was poor internal and external understanding of, and support for, the company’s innovation approach, R&D strategy and pipeline, with key stakeholders reporting that Astellas’ R&D strategy and pipeline seemed disparate and non-strategic.

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Stefanie Prodouz

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