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Top Management Discussion

Photo: Sef Kurstjens, M.D., Ph.D.

Speaking with the CMO Creating Innovation

Focusing on the Creation of Innovative New Drugs for Diseases in Areas of High Unmet Medical Needs

Sef Kurstjens, M.D., Ph.D. Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

Q: How do you evaluate the current pipeline? What are your key priorities for enhancing the pipeline?

A: Astellas has demonstrated healthy growth and significantly strengthened its pipeline in recent years. To continue this trajectory, it is critical we do not become complacent and continue building out our expanding pipeline in our current and emerging therapeutic areas.

At Astellas, our research and development efforts are focused predominantly in areas of high unmet medical need, in life-threatening diseases, with the potential to deliver first-in-class therapies. For the past decade, Astellas has demonstrated healthy growth, developing groundbreaking new medicines in urology, transplantation, infectious diseases and oncology, our largest focus area. We currently have more than 30 new molecular/biological entities in the pipeline, and have significantly grown our presence in oncology. We have a number of late-stage assets across the pipeline with data readouts expected in the coming year. While there has been demonstrable progress, we are not complacent and understand there is still a lot of work to do. We will continue to refine our current therapeutic areas, move assets forward in our emerging therapeutic areas, and build out our expanding pipeline.

Q: How have you been improving R&D productivity?

A: Throughout the R&D process, from bench to clinic, and into the marketplace, we focus on the best science, empower the best talent to pursue it, in the best location to optimize the chances of success for every molecule in development.

Our approach to driving the speed of innovation is three-pronged: First, we have built speed and efficiency into our in-house, pre-Proof of Concept activities, with the initiation of our FASTEN program. Gilteritinib is a good example of how wefve applied FASTEN to a development program. Second, we employ open innovation as a strategy to access the best science and scientists globally. Third, we continue to look for external mid- to late-stage assets that fit our strategic criteria through in-licensing, partnering or acquisition opportunities to continue to build our pipeline.

Separate, but also important to improving productivity, is ensuring we design the best organization and fully engage our staff, utilizing the Astellas Way to create a common purpose and culture for our organization.

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