Astellas recognizes that medical science evolves rapidly with new information becoming available continuously. Astellas seeks to advance medical sciences knowledge which plays a crucial role in the research and development (R&D) of medicines and is also important in building the capacity of health systems and human resources. To do this, Astellas supports medical, scientific research and education which contributes to the advancement of medical sciences. This support for medical professionals is executed in line with national guidelines for securing transparency.
Astellas Academic Support
Astellas provides support for educational activities in the medical and pharmaceutical fields as part of its Astellas Academic Support. Specifically, the support covers financial support for educational activities of medical and pharmaceutical-related organizations, mainly academic societies.
Support research activities in academia
Astellas has a deep history of supporting academic research activities, while ensuring a high level of transparency and fairness, with the goal of contributing to the development of medicine and life sciences.
Until the end of FY 2019, Astellas donated directly to academic research institutes through a practice called “Shogaku Kifu”. However, due to increased global awareness of these types of donations, high levels of transparency, fairness and accountability were required for funding from pharmaceutical companies to academic institutes. Direct donation as “Shogaku Kifu” from pharmaceutical companies to academic institutes, while compliant with laws and regulations, created the possibility for stakeholders to critique the practice because pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes have a common interest in research. Considering these factors, Astellas Pharma Inc. ended “Shogaku Kifu” donations in March 2020.
After FY 2020, Astellas significantly enhanced support for research activities through the Astellas Foundation for Research on Metabolic Disorders (AFRMD). In addition, Astellas also began to support the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) to ensure a higher level of transparency and fairness, while keeping support research activities in academia. Both organizations are independent from Astellas and determine grants for strategic researchers and research institutes without input from Astellas’ corporate divisions.
Astellas Foundation for Research on Metabolic Disorders
Astellas Foundation for Research on Metabolic Disorders, established in 1969, encourages life science research, especially the development and practical application of drug discovery and therapeutics. The Foundation also contributes to public health measures and medical progress.
The Foundation contributes to medical and life sciences by awarding grants for epoch-making research, discovery and nurturing of brilliant young talent and support for researchers through training and opportunities to study outside Japan.
Grants support researchers based in Japan who conduct exploratory research proposals that are highly original and pioneering or research proposals that are expected to produce results of high clinical significance. The Foundation also supports researchers in the following fields:
- Researchers who propose new individualized research
- Female researchers
- Researchers who have just established a laboratory
- Researchers who have just returned from studying outside Japan
- Researchers who are balancing milestone life events (childbirth, childcare, nursing care) with their research
In FY2022, a total of 160 million yen for research donations was awarded to 80 researchers out of 949 applicants. In addition, a total of 51.48 million yen for overseas study subsidies was awarded to 11 researchers out of 181 applicants.
Beginning in FY2022, the AFRMD Next-generation Innovators’ Challenge (ANIC) launched as a new way to increase research and development capacity for next generation scientists. Within the ANIC program, scientists can research topics that include drug discovery and development, practical application of treatments, and the creation of new research subject areas.
In ANIC, both the number of research grants and the amount awarded to overseas research grants was increased. In addition, a step-up research grant was provided to strengthen unique research that will bring about future innovation in life sciences. In FY2022, a total of 40 million yen for a step-up research grant was awarded to 10 researchers out of 45 applicants.