To make Rx+ Story™ a reality, we have established the following six areas, which we call "Spheres.” We are actively developing new businesses in these Spheres:
Chronic Disease Progression Prevention
In the aging populations, the gap between average life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is not closing, and controlling ever-increasing health care costs is becoming important social challenges. Pharmaceuticals have made a significant contribution to the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases and other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For now, the role of pharmaceuticals is not only providing such treatment but also “preventing disease” and “limiting the severity of disease” is becoming much more important.
Solutions for disease management and prevention from disease progression based on scientific evidence utilizing digital technology and medical big data, which have been rapidly developed and widely accepted in recent years, is expected to contribute to further progress in medical care and potential solutions for social problems.
With Sphere "Chronic Disease Progression Prevention," we aim to prevent the onset and severity of chronic diseases such as lifestyle-related diseases by providing solutions for disease management and prevention of severity based on scientific evidence.
In the short and medium term, we aim to develop and provide exercise programs and services that incorporate gamification (applying game elements to services and systems to improve user motivation and satisfaction) for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Based on the data accumulated through digital devices, we also are working to develop and provide risk prediction and individualized intervention measures through deep learning, which will help lead to disease management and prevention of disease progression according to individual constitution and lifestyle.
In the long term, we aim to prevent the onset of symptoms of the diseases and the progression of severity by highly individualized optimization by developing personalized scientific intervention measures from PHR (Personal Health Record)/EMR (Electronic Medical Record).
Motor Function Support/Replacement
At Sphere "Motor Function Support/Replacement," we are currently working on providing new, drug-free medical care to patients with difficult-to-treat diseases, particularly those who suffer from impaired motor function related to muscles and nerves, and to caregivers who support such patients.
The main diseases we include in this area are excretion disorder, physical frailty, limb disorder due to cerebrovascular disease such as stroke, spinal cord injury, limb amputation, and communication disorder such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), etc. In order to develop new medical methods to assist patients with motor function related disease, we intend to utilize multimodal device technologies, especially bioelectronics (the technologies that complement and replace the above obstacles with cutting-edge bioelectronics are called Neuroprosthesis and Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI)), based on the following three technologies:
- Sensing technology that clarifies biological activity information of cells, nerves, organs, muscles, etc.
- Modulation technology that activates or bypasses muscles or nerves that are disordered by electrical, magnetic, or ultrasonic stimulation
- Digital technologies such as sensing and modulation technologies for accurate diagnosis, data utilization for effective and efficient treatment, user interfaces, and applications
In the medium to long term, we aim to provide solutions that utilize individual or multiple technologies among these three technologies for various diseases. Finally, we will work to integrate these three technologies to provide closed-loop medical care that enables autonomous and active diagnosis and treatment throughout the body, thereby creating a society that complements and replaces physical exercise functions.
Digital × Neuroscience
Drug Discovery Research aimed at treating central nervous system (CNS) diseases has led to the discovery of a number of medicines that are now being used in practice. On the other hand, not all medications can relieve patients from problems associated with their diseases, and CNS disorder is still an area with a high number of unmet medical needs.
Sphere "Digital × Neuroscience" aims to provide medical solutions that utilize digital technology to help address daily problems caused by CNS disorders. In addition, by combining multiple medical solutions, we aim to provide personalized solutions tailored to each individual's symptoms. In the long term, we aim to prevent the onset of disease and prevent the worsening of symptoms by early detection and improvement of various symptoms recognized in CNS disorders through the acquisition of various biometric information.
Patient w/o Effective Medicines
Sphere "Patient w/o Effective Medicines" aims to provide patients access to new drugs where alternate solutions exist but where drug access is limited. The situation which is difficult to obtain the medicine depends on each patient’s situation. Patients may face a variety of realities, for example based on their individual circumstances, such as not seeing a doctor because it is difficult to judge for themselves whether their physical condition is good or bad, or they may know it is good to take medicine but they do not want to do so.
To improve the situation for these patients, Astellas started with changing the medical-care environment for pregnant women, newborns and infants. The general idea is that some degree of discomforts and anxiety cannot be avoided in case of pregnancy, and issues regarding pregnant women had not been taken seriously in the past. For newborns and infants, who cannot communicate their own condition to adults around them, important signs may be overlooked. This is an issue that we hope to address through Rx+®.
For pregnant women, we are considering providing perinatal management solutions based on prenatal checkup information and various monitoring methods. Monitoring the situation when a pregnant woman is both in or out of the home, not just in the hospital, may reduce her anxiety and make it easier to find situations that require intervention. In the event that such a situation is discovered, we aim to establish a system that can lead to prompt treatment. By monitoring newborns and infants while they are both in or out of the home, we hope to quickly detect situations that require intervention. We will also aim to make it easier for newborns and infants under treatment to be observed.
Patient Outcome Maximization via Precise Surgery/Diagnosis
In the evolving medical care environment, hospitals increasingly need to change how they respond to patient needs. In addition to treating patients, hospitals are expected to provide a high quality patient experience (patient experience value) in the future.
Personalizing medical care and enhancing care quality in order to meet changing patient needs are inevitable. As one of the solutions for such trends, Sphere "Patient Outcome Maximization via Precise Surgery/Diagnosis" aims to optimize patient value with smart hospital services.
Astellas aims to provide various solutions to support realization of personalized smart hospitals. In particular, we are considering the following:
- Surgical navigation utilizing technique-upgrading technology and individual image data
- Minimally invasive medical care as an alternative to surgery
- Enhancing individual patient management, considering suitable treatment and preventing recurrence by adapting to individual circumstances
Sensory Function Support/Replacement
In our daily lives, we receive, transmit, and process information from the outside world even unconsciously. Much of the information about the outside world is received by the sensory organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin), and internal organs (i.e. bladder and intestine). And that is transmitted to and processed by the brain, where it is interpreted as light (vision), sound (auditory sense), smell (sense of smell), taste (taste), feel (sense of touch) and sensation that develops in various internal organs.
What happens if these functions are compromised? Needless to say, quality of life (QOL) is greatly affected.
With Sphere "Sensory Function Support/Replacement," we aim to improve QOL of people with impaired sensory functions by incorporating new science and technology, such as engineering, in order to develop a multidisciplinary and superior solution, including a system that supports the patient, surrounding family members, as well as doctors and caregivers. With the elemental technologies to control a sensory function established through these initiatives, we plan to develop new sensory argumentation technologies in the future as well as support/replacement solutions for sensory dysfunction. We are looking at solutions and services that promote, complement, and replace sensory functions, specifically implantable devices, wearable devices, and digital applications. In order to achieve these goals, we are considering the following technologies: