Nephrology focuses on the kidneys, specifically kidney function and kidney disease, the preservation of kidney health and the treatment of kidney disease, from diet and medication to renal replacement therapy.
Astellas’ commitment to nephrology
At Astellas, Changing TomorrowTM is the ethos that guides everything we do. We combine promising science, cutting-edge technology, expertise, and our passion for making a difference in all we do. This enables us to deliver treatments and solutions that improve the lives of patients.
As part of our Focus Area approach, our research is predominantly in disease areas where the need is great, but effective treatments are lacking. Our work in nephrology is living proof of this. We are leaders in immunosuppression for organ transplantation and have dedicated more than 20 years to the transplantation community, including those with kidney disease.
About chronic kidney disease (CKD)
CKD is a progressive disease characterised by gradual loss of kidney function that may eventually lead to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), requiring dialysis or kidney transplant.1 CKD occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years. Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for up to two-thirds of all cases of CKD.1
CKD is a highly prevalent condition, affecting approximately one in ten people globally.2 It is recognised as a global public health issue and is projected to become the fifth most common cause of premature death by 2040.3
About anaemia of CKD
CKD is associated with numerous complications as the kidneys begin to fail, with anaemia being one of the earliest to arise.4 Anaemia occurs when the production of red blood cells is reduced, impairing the delivery of oxygen to tissues and organs.1
One in five people with CKD develops anaemia.5 Although the burden of living with anaemia of CKD can be high for patients, evidence suggests that many are still not receiving timely diagnosis or adequate treatment, which could increase the risk of complications relating to their quality of life, cardiovascular disease and mortality. 6
Our Commitment to the Patient Community
We are dedicated to working alongside patients, care partners, and patient organisations to improve the overall health experience. We aim to listen, learn, and collaborate with patient and care partner communities across a variety of countries and regions, to better understand what truly matters to them and how we can support patients with anaemia of CKD. We do this by organising forums to seek patients’ perspectives, working with patient organisations to develop materials that provide patients with information about the condition and its management, and developing tools to help with treatment adherence to support better health outcomes.
By putting the patient at the heart of what we do, we connect their experiences with our scientists and employees to understand what truly matters to patients and their communities. These insights help shape the way we develop medicines of the future and ensure that we make the greatest impact possible on patients throughout their healthcare journey.
Astellas is dedicated to innovating and researching new scientific approaches in nephrology. Our expertise in nephrology, along with close partnerships with organisations that support patients with kidney disease, means that we are ideally positioned to recognise unmet needs and find solutions to address them.
Astellas is a longstanding supporter of the World Transplant Games Federation, which stages the world’s largest awareness event for transplantation, the Summer World Games, to inspire the public to consider organ and tissue donation, and to encourage recipients to rehabilitate following their transplant and keep fit and healthy in their ongoing journey.7 Astellas also works closely with the International Registry of Organ Donation and Transplantation, which offers a global database of organ donation and transplant activity.
Astellas sponsors the annual World Kidney Day, run by the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, which aims to increase awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our health and reduce the impact of kidney disease and its associated problems worldwide.8 Astellas is also a sponsor of the European Kidney Patients’ Federation, a pan-European patient organisation supporting people living with CKD across 26 countries with their KEEP ON project. This project aims to empower and educate patients whilst raising awareness of CKD.
Astellas is heavily involved in scientific congresses. Astellas was an official sponsor of the European Renal Association–European Dialysis and Transplant Association Congress 2021 and the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2021, two global events where experts in nephrology meet to exchange information in order to advance medical science in the field. A variety of abstracts are often presented at scientific congress by Astellas, which surround the current understanding of the management of care and quality of life challenges faced by people living with anaemia of CKD.
Our people are the driving force of our company. We have assembled a world-class team of medical, clinical, and scientific talent working across interconnected hubs around the world. The ‘Astellas Way’ is a shared set of values across all Astellas functions, sites and geographies that guide our actions and decisions and centres on patient focus, ownership, results, openness and integrity. Astellas brings together the best teams from both inside and outside the company to undertake research activities in a collaborative environment, ensuring we have the greatest chance of success.
“Our expertise, science and technology make us a pharmaceuticals company. Our open and progressive culture is what makes us Astellas.” – Ayesha Aziz-Akosa, Executive Director
“We listen, learn and collaborate with patients, patient groups, and care partners to hear their experiences first-hand and understand what is important to them – this keeps patients and care partners at the heart of everything we do. PATIENTS ARE WHYTM.” – Chelsea Moran, Associate Director, Patient Partnerships – Europe
“Being part of Astellas’ journey to re-define the treatment landscape for patients in the greatest need, truly inspires me – Alexander Harkavyi, Associate Medical Director
1 National Kidney Foundation. About chronic kidney disease, https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease (accessed April 2022).
2 International Society of Nephrology. Chronic kidney disease. Global kidney health atlas, www.theisn.org/global-atlas (2017) (accessed April 2022).
3 Foreman KJ, Marquez N, Dolgert A, et al. Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016-40 for 195 countries and territories. Lancet 2018; 392: 2052-2090. 2018/10/21. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31694-5.
4 UK KC. Anaemia, https://www.kidneycareuk.org/about-kidney-health/conditions/anaemia/ (accessed April 2022).
5 Dmitrieva O, de Lusignan S, Macdougall IC, et al. Association of anaemia in primary care patients with chronic kidney disease: cross sectional study of quality improvement in chronic kidney disease (QICKD) trial data. BMC Nephrol 2013; 14: 24. 2013/01/29. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2369-14-24.
6 Wong MMY, Tu C, Li Y, et al. Anemia and iron deficiency among chronic kidney disease Stages 3-5ND patients in the Chronic Kidney Disease Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study: often unmeasured, variably treated. Clin Kidney J 2020; 13: 613-624. 2020/09/10. DOI: 10.1093/ckj/sfz091.
7 Astellas. Astellas and World Transplant Games Federation Announce Launch of Fit for Life! to Promote Physical Activity in Transplant Recipients Worldwide, https://www.astellas.com/en/news/7971 (accessed April 2022).
8 World Kidney Day. Corporate Supporters, https://www.worldkidneyday.org/supporters/corporate/" (accessed April 2022).
NEPH_2022_0034_UK. May 2022