Big Pharma, Big Heart

Recognised as a “HR Asia’s Best Companies to Work for 2020” by HR Asia, biopharmaceutical company Takeda Thailand has garnered a respected reputation for its company culture and management style, complemented with Takeda’s global standing as one of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies in the world.

Big Pharma, Big Heart
Business Big Pharma, Big Heart Takeda Thailand’s core values at the heart of development for better health and brighter future of people published : 6 May 2021 at 11:00 SPONSORED CONTENT Recognised as a “HR Asia’s Best Companies to Work for 2020” by HR Asia, biopharmaceutical company Takeda Thailand has garnered a respected reputation for its company culture and management style, complemented with Takeda’s global standing as one of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies in the world. Keen to find out more about how this 240-year-old pharma company transformed from a traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine merchant to a global biopharmaceutical leader, I spoke to Peter Streibl, General Manager of Takeda Thailand, to speak about the company’s management style and philosophy, its contribution to the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and more. How did Takeda get started and how has it changed? Takeda is a company that was founded over two centuries ago in Japan, and we are looking forward to celebrating our 240th anniversary this year. The company was originally founded on a strong set of values that we still uphold till today and are at the core of our work as Takeda has expanded across the globe. Can you tell me how these values align with Takeda’s “Better health for people, brighter future for the world” purpose? Our values of Takeda-ism consists of Integrity, Fairness, Honesty, and Perseverance, with integrity at the core.   They are brought to life through actions based in the order of: • Putting the patient first. • Building trust with society. • Reinforcing our reputation. • Developing a sustainable business. From our inception, Takeda has been purposefully thoughtful and has practiced societal value creation. Our purpose defines why we exist as a company, inspiring and guiding us in our daily work and our impact on patients, people and the planet. These core values work particularly well in Thailand, as the values and the culture of the Japanese and Thai people are very much aligned and there is a desire in both countries to see honesty, perseverance, integrity and fairness at work. That’s nice to put on paper but we also have to walk the talk.  So when we think about how to get treatments to patients, we have to look at removing the barriers across the entire patient journey. Yes we want to be a sustainable business, but we are confident that if we make our business decisions in the order of our framework, business sustainability will inevitably follow. With that in mind, we have asked patients to share their experiences, both good and challenging, with Takeda Thailand employees for them to keep fresh in their minds the patients we serve, and can work together for better treatment outcomes to fulfil our purpose of “Better health for people, brighter future for the world”. With those objectives in place, could you tell me about Takeda’s innovative biopharmaceutical treatments and their impacts on medical providers and patients? I think that the real innovation comes when no such treatment yet exists for a particular condition.  All kinds of extra value can be added by bringing new or improved treatments for common conditions to market -- but for some conditions and patients, there are no treatments at all. One example is hereditary angioedema (HAE). This is a rare genetic disease that affects 30 diagnosed patients in Thailand. HAE causes recurrent and severe swelling in sufferers and, without treatment, attacks can occur every couple of weeks and last for a few days and, potentially, can be life-threatening if it occurs in the airway. However, there are no targeted treatments available. Our global R&D team works hard to discover and develop unique and innovative treatments, so that we can continue to deliver positive impact to more patients’ live in the future. We aim to bring more of these products to Thailand and strengthen the local healthcare system to ensure that Thai patients can gain access to these transformative medicines. How does Takeda cater to the specific needs of the Thai market? Thailand is a core market for Takeda in what we term as our Growth & Emerging Markets Business Unit. It's an important market because we have a long and successful history here; we have good partnerships with all the stakeholders, so we want to leverage that. So, naturally, Thailand is a priority for Takeda when we launch our global growth brands, and prepare for the launch of our Wave 1 R&D pipeline of innovative therapies, which is very important. Thailand has been doing a really good job upgrading the readiness for innovation and recognizing it, but access can still be a major hurdle for a significant amount of the local population. We have implemented Patient Assistance and Market Access Programmes where, if a patient were diagnosed with a disease and we have a product that can treat it but the patient cannot afford it, then we find ways for the patient to gain the treatment they need. We also work with relevant stakeholders to upgrade that accessibility for patients in the long run. Furthermore, Takeda’s mission to develop a vaccine for dengue (endemic in Thailand), was started by researchers at Mahidol University and has now gone on to meet its primary and secondary endpoints following trials in endemic countries across Southeast Asia and Latin America, including Thailand. This is something that can change the lives of people in Thailand and all around the world. In light of your recent success securing HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award 2020, could you tell us about Takeda’s staff management and corporate philosophy? I've been with the company for more than 10 years.  Originally from Austria, I actually joined the company in Switzerland and moved with them to Turkey, Dubai, four years in Singapore, and then I came to Thailand. Very quickly I realised the culture here is different. The team in place here is great, over the years they have developed a family culture, with people looking out for each other in a way that, I believe, makes people even more engaged and committed. I certainly wanted to cultivate that. When you come in as a new leader there can be a risk of making changes that could potentially compromise what’s been working well. I think I successfully avoided this and we've done some great things in the last few years to uplift and maintain that family spirit. With our people as the cornerstone to our success, we naturally invest in people and their professional development whether it's in medical or other departments – but we also give them opportunities to explore and look into their specific interests, sometimes outside of their speciality. We support, recognise and reward good performance and for people who go beyond their roles to support the business and there is an opportunity to recognize these achievements. It's not always a material reward so much, but it's about showing that these things have an impact and your colleagues acknowledge it. And that goes a long way. Pre-COVID, we had training programmes, where our talent were able to take on assignments in other locations in other professional functions. Some even attended business schools in the US and participated in abridged MBAs. And so we have a strong presence also in Taiwan, Korea, Australia and Singapore. I don't know if you feel the same way, but travel just gives you a completely different perspective on things, right? How has Takeda responded to the COVID-19 pandemic challenge? Beginning with what we did internally; the number one thing was when the pandemic hit globally, we want to do our utmost to protect our customers, stakeholders, and our people. We took on quite a conservative safety approach and restricted our external engagement activities. We interact a lot with doctors who then go and see patients, and when COVID-19 arose, we didn’t want to compromise the health and safety of our people, risk any further outbreaks or potential burdening of the healthcare system. We still limit our interactions to where we feel it is vital. In addition, last year we donated 4 mil THB to 4 key public health organizations to support our frontline health care workers for the much-needed personal protection equipment. We are not a company that's working directly on a vaccine to treat the pandemic but the situation has, along with the need for innovative treatments, seen an unprecedented level of collaboration, even with direct competitors. In Japan, we have entered into an agreement with a vaccine brand to support distribution of the vaccine throughout the country. We have also collaborated with another company to utilize our vaccine manufacturing plant in Germany for a specified amount of time, to help boost their supply of their COVID-19 vaccine. I think the thing that I'm most proud of is Takeda and the broader pharmaceutical industry. We acknowledge that the pharmaceutical industry does not always enjoy the best reputation, but now is a time we can reframe that perception as there are many positive collaborations and partnerships out there that are not business-driven, developing good solutions. We want to do the right thing. There is in line with our patient, trust, reputation, business framework. And while there is no doubt that we have successfully run a business for 240 years sustainably, we will continue to do so in that order. Do you like the content of this article?