How Astellas Pharma Achieves R&D Operational Excellence with Science Exchange


This is a sponsored case study republished from

Over the past decade, the biopharmaceutical industry has undergone a massive shift — one that is only accelerating as global pressures create change. Widespread decentralization, remote work culture, supply chain disruptions, and increased competition are just some of the challenges that R&D leaders now face.

In today’s world, how do R&D organizations not just adapt but stay ahead of inevitable challenges? Successful companies innovate. 

Astellas innovates to stay ahead

Astellas Pharma, a global R&D leader based in Japan, is a prime example of an organization with a unique strategic approach that enables them to successfully develop new drugs and innovate. 

As a company whose mission is to “turn innovative science into value for patients,” Astellas’ goals include achieving operational excellence, strengthening relationships with both existing and new suppliers, and remaining a science-first organization. Focusing on these areas allows them to spend their resources innovating instead of maintaining the status quo. 

To achieve these goals, Astellas has extended the spirit of innovation beyond the lab, applying it to their R&D operations and outsourcing strategies too. Leveraging technology, like the Science Exchange Marketplace, is an integral part of their strategy and helps them achieve their goals by increasing operational efficiency, expanding their access to external innovation, and ultimately, by reducing the administrative burden on their scientists and teams from finance to legal to procurement.


How Science Exchange helps Astellas achieve their goals 

Through the Science Exchange Marketplace, Astellas’ researchers get instant access to over 3,500 outsourced scientific suppliers on one integrated platform where they can seamlessly source, order, manage and pay for R&D services — all through a single contract. 


Operational excellence through automation

The Science Exchange technology plugs right into Astellas’ existing workflows and provides them with automation that streamlines the entire source to pay cycle within their organization. So, instead of losing time identifying, contracting, and onboarding suppliers one at a time, researchers at Astellas can access suppliers that have been pre-approved by legal, quality, and procurement teams. Science Exchange allows teams to expedite the lengthy supplier onboarding process and start work immediately.

Astellas Senior Vice President of R&D Finance, Frank Hudson, explains: “What I know is that the researchers on our teams want to spend time progressing science… Science Exchange allows that to happen.” 


Instant access to external innovation

Any R&D leader will tell you that they’re driven by the challenge of getting new medicines to patients. However, administrative tasks eat away at progress, and the inability to easily access specialized scientific suppliers limits capabilities. 

By making it easy to find and work with scientific suppliers across the globe, Astellas teams can focus on discovering innovative solutions through external partnerships. In addition to finding new partners to work with, they can also deepen relationships with existing partners to achieve better, faster outcomes in the lab. 

Science Exchange makes it easy for suppliers to work with Astellas too. As a single-payment entity, Science Exchange automates billing and payment processing to ensure that each supplier gets paid quickly and efficiently. And, because Astellas’ researchers can easily access catalogs, request quotes, and purchase services with a single click, suppliers can focus on delivering great work. 


Keeping the focus where it matters — the science 

Staying nimble and focused in today’s environment can be very difficult, if not impossible, for large organizations that operate globally across various sites and labs. However, by providing instant access to external innovation and automating workflows that streamline their R&D operations, Science Exchange helps Astellas redirect the time and resources they’d otherwise spend on administrative work. So, instead of focusing on finding, onboarding, and managing the right innovation partners, Astellas can confidently remain focused on the science itself. 

In today’s world, it’s not easy to stay focused and stay ahead, but Science Exchange makes it possible for companies like Astellas to meet their goals and remain successful no matter what’s happening within the industry.

To learn more about Astellas’ partnership with Science Exchange, watch their video:

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