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What we do
The Medical Intelligence and Patient Insights (MIPI) team collaborates with and supports Research and Development colleagues to illustrate and provide a deep understanding of the exam-room dynamic between patient and healthcare provider. This allows Astellas to uncover unmet patient needs and directly weave the patient perspective into drug development. Sometimes, the pharmaceutical industry’s research objectives can be guided by the scientific landscape, how straightforward it will be to develop a medicine, and researchers’ ideas of what matters most. And, while these are all important considerations, they do not always directly map to what patients need in the real world.

Who we work with
MIPI partners with Astellas colleagues working in molecule discovery through to early development to analyze potential opportunities in their targeted disease areas, placing particular emphasis on the patient and healthcare provider perspective. The team strives to strike a balance between “can we” build an asset, based on the science and developability, and “should we”, based on the potential unmet need and medical value opportunity within the indication. Our structured approach gives Astellas researchers a better understanding of the real-world potential of their projects and enables them to incorporate the patient voice into drug development from the very start.

How we work
Each MIPI analysis is built using a consistent methodology that comprises:

  1. Working with patients, advocates and healthcare professionals to define the elements of each disease.
  2. Applying qualitative and quantitative components to real-world data that captures the patient experience. Sources include patient and healthcare provider interviews, information on drug utilization, seeing what people are saying on social media, and extensive reviews of the treatment landscape.
  3. Evaluating the findings according to scientific rationale, medical value, patient need, and product viability.
  4. Providing information on target patient populations and how people may potentially access the new medicine, within the parameters of the existing and emerging standard of care.

The MIPI team’s recommendations on how to make the project a success can be used to:

  • Guide research and development decisions.
  • Help prioritize funding for potential new medicines.
  • Support research project teams through milestone transitions, such as deciding whether to take a drug into testing in humans.

How our work makes a difference: Case study

The challenge: Data on mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), a relatively new health condition that can place significant burden on patients, is scarce.

The project: The MIPI team conducted wide-ranging analyses, including reviews of the clinical trial landscape and regulatory pathways, epidemiology data, and current standard of care, as well as interviews with people living with MELAS and the physicians treating them. They found tremendous unmet medical need among both the acute and chronic care segments of the patient population, and that MELAS prevalence was twice as high as previously reported.

The outcome: The MIPI research identified new approaches for further development of an investigational compound for potential treatment of MELAS. It also revealed potential pathways to optimize discovery and development, including recommendations for targeted clinical trial endpoints and symptom measurement to track patients’ progression.