Category Archives: AstraZeneca News

Bringing Medical Meetings to Everyone via Social Media

For decades, medical meetings have been a place for doctors, patients, researchers and advocates to engage with each other and share information about the latest advances in treatments and science.

That engagement level has exploded over the last few years, however, with the rise of social media. Now, attendees can talk not only to others in the meeting hall but also in every corner of the globe.

Social media takes medical meetings beyond the convention center walls to provide a real-time yet enduring story of patient experiences, scientific breakthroughs and inspirational speakers. It opens the meetings up to anyone, whether they have a deep or passing interest in all or any of the subjects being discussed, while democratizing the sharing of information.

Journalists can report in real time. Attendees can take notes in a public way. And anyone with access to the Internet can get in on the conversation.

That’s good for patients. That’s good for health care providers. And that’s good for companies like AstraZeneca that value learning from those who are facing diseases for which we are fiercely working to development new and more effective treatments.

How important has social media grown to become at medical meetings? Consider: The 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting saw 4,352 different people tweet 21,861 times using the #ASCO13 hashtag throughout the year. Two years later, the #ASCO15 meeting was mentioned in 81,273 tweets from 16,664 people – a nearly four-fold increase.

And it’s not just ASCO. The American Heart Association’s annual meeting saw a four-fold increase in Twitter activity between 2013 (#AHA2013) and 2015 (#AHA2015) as well, according to the analytics firm Symplur. Similar increases were seen at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) scientific sessions.

ACC 2012, 2015

AstraZeneca once again will participate in major meetings in our therapeutic areas this year, including ASCO, AHA, ACC, ADA and several others. In addition to our live presence at the meetings, we hope to accomplish the following through our social engagement:

  • Conduct live, authentic dialogue with those in attendance as well as those following along virtually.
  • Share our messages and resources with an informed, engaged audience.
  • Continue conversations begun face to face in the meeting halls.
  • Glean key areas of focus of those affected by the diseases being studied to better inform our efforts as a company.

It is increasingly crucial for all players in healthcare to be engaged in social media, as more and more Americans use these platforms:

  • Overall, 62 percent of adults in the United States use Facebook, while 22 percent use LinkedIn and 20 percent use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • One in 20 Google searches seek health-related information, according to Google.
  • Meanwhile, 41 percent in one survey said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
  • Finally, 32 percent of insured Americans say they are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills navigating the healthcare system – higher than those who are uncomfortable buying a home (25 percent).

Taken together, this means that all segments of the health system have a responsibility to have a social presence that provides accurate and scientifically sound information to patients who are increasingly turning to the Internet and social media for information. That includes information from providers, payers, patient groups and companies like AstraZeneca.

You can follow AstraZeneca in the U.S. on Twitter here and like us on Facebook here to see firsthand how we are engaging via social media.

Meanwhile, we will see you at the meetings – and online!

Three Companies Collaborate to End Coronary Heart Disease for Good

By Gregory Keenan, MD, Vice President and Head of US Medical Affairs

Greg Keenan

This could be the beginning of the end for coronary heart disease and its consequences. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, accounting for approximately one out of every three deaths. In the U.S. more than 85 million Americans age 20 and older currently live with heart disease. Coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease, alone causes more than 7 million deaths annually. Something must be done, but tackling a health crisis of this magnitude can seem daunting. How can we accelerate our efforts, and how can we improve upon current research models to make an impact faster?

OBI logoThis is where One Brave Idea™ comes in. This new initiative, formed through a collaboration of the American Heart Association (AHA), Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and AstraZeneca, aims to identify a visionary leader who will lead the research charge to end coronary heart disease and improve the cardiovascular health of people around the world. This individual will have the opportunity and challenge to build a diverse team featuring the best and brightest minds from across industries and disciplines.

One Brave Idea sets out to accelerate discovery by removing some of the barriers that have plagued the traditional research process. The selected leader and his or her team will have resources beyond the financial investment of the three organizations (a combined $75 million over five years) by combining the AHA’s medical and scientific expertise, Verily’s technical prowess, with scientific insights and mentoring from AstraZeneca. The ultimate goal is to design and implement novel strategies to prevent or reverse coronary heart disease with an inclusive focus on causative factors and its consequences, thereby restoring cardiovascular health to patients and improving lives around the world.

AstraZeneca is continually looking for new ways to enable cross sector collaboration amongst individuals, organizations and communities who share our passion for patients. This research initiative allows us to combine resources to improve cardiovascular health – and take a truly innovative approach to solving issues of cardiovascular disease in a multidisciplinary way.

If you believe you have the idea and capabilities to lead a team that can end coronary heart disease and improve cardiovascular health, visit onebraveidea.com to submit your idea by 11:59p CT on February 14, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed by a joint leadership team comprised of representatives from AHA, Verily and AstraZeneca. I will be a part of this team, along with my colleague Bruce Cooper, MD, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca. Bruce will bring his more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry along with entrepreneurial experience founding a successful specialty pharmaceutical company to the efforts. Bruce and I, along with our partners at AHA and Verily, eagerly anticipate the ideas, new perspectives and solutions that One Brave Idea will generate.

A Look Back At 2015

Inspiring stories. New approaches to healthcare. Empowering patients.

In 2015, AstraZeneca Health Connections told dozens of stories about our business, our medicines, patients and our role in the community. We took you from scientific conferences to Machu Picchu, to programs and initiatives we support across the United States. We hope each story helped you learn a little bit more about AstraZeneca as a business – and how we view our role in the healthcare system.

As the year winds to a close, join us in taking a look back at some of our favorite posts from the last 12 months:

AZ&Me Prescription Savings Programs Support Patient Access For More Than 35 Years

PAP 2014 figuresOur most popular post in 2015 was about one of AstraZeneca’s most popular programs: The AZ&Me Prescription Savings Programs, which in 2014 helped nearly 383,000 patients in the United States save more than $670 million on AstraZeneca medicines.

This suite of programs is designed to help qualifying people without insurance, those enrolled in Medicare Part D, those who receive their medications through participating health care facilities and those who have faced a financial challenge recently.

Personalized Healthcare: Early Diagnostics, More Targeted Treatment

AZ_board_images_72dpi_1020px18For Mother’s Day, AstraZeneca U.S. President Paul Hudson took a look at how personalized healthcare presents a golden opportunity to significantly improve women’s health – notably among ovarian, breast and lung cancer patients. The promise of personalized healthcare is clear: It can enable doctors to more quickly identify which treatments will be most effective for individual patients based on their genetic makeup. Personalized healthcare means we can identify when a potential treatment requires an individualized strategy at an early stage and develop an integrated diagnostic plan. This helps get the right treatments to the right patients at the right times – even faster.

Transformational Journey Takes AZ Employee, Cancer Survivor To Machu Picchu 

Donato 3In April, we brought you the moving story of AstraZeneca employee Kelly Donato, who hiked Machu Picchu in Peru on her 10th anniversary of being cancer free. Donato joined 30 other cancer survivors for the trek organized by the group Above and Beyond Cancer, a non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, that organizes annual transformation journeys that unite a group of individuals affected by cancer for trips around the world to complete challenging hikes, including Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest Base Camp.

World Heart Day: Our Opportunity To Make An Impact

John ClymerFor World Heart Day, we published a guest post from John Clymer, the executive director of the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention to promote a new initiative designed to educate communities on how to live healthier lives. The AstraZeneca “Make Your Move Across America” initiative, a national cholesterol education campaign that offers free cholesterol screenings to adults 18 and older in select cities across the country, is an activity we were proud to be a part of this World Heart Day. Make Your Move Across America provides adults an opportunity to learn their cholesterol numbers and how to work with their doctor to manage them if necessary, which are critical components to reducing a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.

Redefining Value Of Care

photo1aDuring Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, we discussed the potential of personalized healthcare as it pertains to lung cancer, which causes the most cancer deaths worldwide.

Because we now know that not every case of lung cancer is the same, we know that we can no longer treat the disease as a whole in the same way for everybody. Patients have different genetic mutations, some of which develop resistance to certain types of therapies and treatments. At AstraZeneca, we’re working to understand why resistance emerges to certain therapies so that we can design improvements in the drugs we use to overcome those mechanisms of resistance.

Thank you all for reading in 2015, and we look forward to sharing more with you in 2016!

AstraZeneca Awarded in Workplace Equality, Employee Support

Over the past few months AstraZeneca has received recognition from several organizations, awarding our efforts in workplace equality, employee support and individual achievements. These accomplishments illustrate our commitment as a company to foster a successful work environment for all our employees.

LGBT Workplace Equality Scorecard

AstraZeneca received a score of 90 out of 100 on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. AstraZeneca’s score reflects a commitment to LGBT workplace equality, with respect to tangible policies, benefits, and practices.

The 2016 CEI rated a total of 1,027 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community.

During the last few years AstraZeneca leadership has partnered with departments across the company to ensure that our programs and benefits serve all of our employees. For more information on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei.

2016 Military Friendly® Employer Designation

AstraZeneca was honored to recently announce our 2016 Military Friendly® Employer designation. We earned a place on this prestigious list by recognizing the competitive edge that transitioning military give to our workforce. The talent, skill, and experience veterans bring is priceless, and the Military Friendly Employers have invested considerable time, money, and personnel to build military recruiting and retention programs, as well as policies to accommodate Guard and Reservists who continue to serve our country.

One of the ways in which AstraZeneca supports military employees is through our Military Support Employee Resource Group, which serves as a resource for employees who are in the Reserve Forces, have family members in the military, are veterans or have strong ties to troop-support.

To see the full list of companies featured for 2016, visit militaryfriendly.com/2016employers

Working Mother 100 Best Companies

For the 14th consecutive year, AstraZeneca has been listed among the top 100 Best Companies by Working Mother magazine. Out of the 100 total companies listed, AstraZeneca earned the number 11 spot, maintaining our rank from last year.

This annual listing recognizes 100 companies for their outstanding leadership in establishing policies, programs, and corporate cultures that support working moms. This includes child care services, flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, and advancement opportunities for women. This recognition demonstrates our commitment to building a supportive and flexible work environment that helps working women successfully manage the demands of career and family.

Profiles of the 2015 Working Mother 100 Best Companies and more information about AstraZeneca’s ranking were featured in the October/November issue of Working Mother magazine and at workingmother.com.

Individual Recognitions

In addition to awards received for AstraZeneca’s broad achievements, several individuals also stood out from the crowd and were recognized for accomplishments in their respective fields.

Greg Keenan, Vice President, Medical Affairs, AstraZeneca U.S., was recognized by Pharma Voice on their 2015 100 Most Inspiring People list. Along with his professional accolades, Greg’s caring personality, enthusiasm and innovative mindset were highlighted as reasons colleagues find him inspirational to work with. He has been coined “Dr. Socrates” as he uses a Socratic format in leading teams, asking and answering questions in order to stimulate critical thinking.

Praveen Akkinepally, Director, Respiratory Care Specialist and Rita Johnson-Greene, Head of Field Sales, Finance & Enabling Functions made DiversityMBA’s 2015 Top 100 Under 50 Executive & Emerging Leaders list. DiversityMBA is a leadership and management organization that advances the understanding of diversity & inclusion in the workforce by recognizing leadership.

The Top 100 Under 50 list is comprised of a group of leaders that are selected by the magazine from Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit agencies. The selectees are chosen from a pool of 300 nominees by a panel of judges and Praveen and Rita were selected for this prestigious list based on their accomplishments and contributions to both AstraZeneca and their communities.

Donna Huang, Head of Corporate Affairs, Cardiovascular, Mature Brands and State Government Affairs, AstraZeneca U.S., was named as one of PR Week’s 40 Under 40 of 2015, for her work as a skilled leader, a disciplined communicator, and “the person everyone wants on their team, whether responding to a crisis or launching a product.” Donna also won more than 10 public relations industry and communications honors six years ago for an atherosclerosis disease education program.

AstraZeneca congratulates these individuals and the teams behind each of these accomplishments and we look forward to sharing successes to come in 2016.

Potential of Innovative Payment Models Examined at Thought Leader Dinner

The U.S. healthcare system can easily be described as one of the most complex in the world, with intertwining relationships between payers, providers and patients. While the medical community has made significant strides in developing breakthrough medicines, there is more work to do to ensure patients can access and pay for them. Stakeholders in both the private and public healthcare sectors are moving away from fee for service payment toward more value based care.

Many believe innovative payment models that tie the cost of medications to value could support more cost-effective healthcare and give patients access to groundbreaking treatments. This requires collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and both private and public payers to reach agreements that could help address concerns about the cost of medicines while supporting continued biopharmaceutical innovation.

20151208_NJ_AstraZeneca_Dinner_104Thought leaders from across the healthcare industry recently gathered in Washington D.C. to share perspectives on this topic at a dinner event hosted by AstraZeneca in partnership with the National Journal, and moderated by Marilyn Werber Serafini, Vice President for Policy at the Alliance for Health Reform. AstraZeneca U.S. leadership team members were joined by 16 thought leaders and members of the media, representing organizations such as the American Medical Association, National Association of Medicaid Directors, American Association of Retired Persons, Cystic Fibrosis Association, the National Pharmaceutical Council and others.

Questions posed to the group throughout the evening included: What potential do innovative payment models hold for new medicines and other treatments? Which models currently being tested have the potential to become more widespread? What barriers are preventing widespread adoption of these models? What role should government play in this discussion?

20151208_NJ_AstraZeneca_Dinner_097Dave Fredrickson, Vice President of Specialty Care at AstraZeneca commenced the discussion by noting the challenges that currently exist within the U.S. healthcare system and highlighting AstraZeneca’s belief that innovative payment models that include pharmaceuticals play an important role in the continued evolution of the healthcare system from fee for service to value based approaches. Initial discussion circled around the definition of value and consensus quickly formed around value needing to be focused on the patient.

The discussion at times raised more questions than answers, as challenges around widespread implementation of innovative payment models appeared complex and multi-faceted. Potential solutions that surfaced included leveraging data and real world evidence to define and measure key metrics and implementing processes that foster competition within the industry while continuing to reward innovation. It was noted that though there may never be one single 20151208_NJ_AstraZeneca_Dinner_179payment model that can be applied across the healthcare industry, disease-specific models may continue to emerge that have the most impact due to the varying needs of patients.

Diane Sullivan, Vice President of Market Access and Patient Strategies at AstraZeneca, summarized the evening, observing that despite the differences of opinion, everyone in healthcare is on this journey together and will need to work collaboratively to see which methods will result in the best outcomes for patients. Only time will tell which model(s) currently being tested will be most successful, as no dominant model has yet emerged that can address the far-reaching issues at hand.

The dinner was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

Redefining the Value of Care

By Paul Hudson, President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America

AZ_board_images_72dpi_1020px18Changes are happening right before our eyes as the world moves on from a one-size-fits-all approach. With recent advancements in wearables and mobile health technology, we are able to see what was once invisible – our steps, our calories, our sleep patterns. As patients and consumers, we’re becoming accountable. We’re demanding answers to questions. We’re taking our health into our own hands.

The game has changed across the healthcare industry, and discoveries in personalized medicine underscore just how. As we observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month, I am reminded of the incredible potential that personalized approaches offer for patients. According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for 1.6 million deaths in 2012.

Science has come a long way. We’ve learned that not every case of lung cancer is the same, and we know that we can no longer treat the disease as a whole. Patients have different genetic mutations on their lung cells, some of which develop resistance to certain types of therapies and treatments. At AstraZeneca, we’re working to understand why resistance emerges to certain therapies so that we can design improvements in the drugs we use to overcome those mechanisms of resistance.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Personalized Medicine Conference in Boston, presented by Partners HealthCare, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, and I challenged the audience of key industry stakeholders to work differently to research and develop new medicines, and to collaborate more effectively to discover solutions for patients. Personalized approaches can help to eliminate guesswork, wasted money for payers and uncertainty for patients. Faster, better treatments can reduce doctor visits and hospital stays, ultimately reducing the overall cost burden on the healthcare system.

And while personalized healthcare is strongly associated with oncology therapies, its potential has far-reaching consequences for other therapeutic areas as well. Figures from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggest that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. However, we’re increasingly finding that the triggers and drivers of these types of respiratory conditions differ from one individual to the next, and from one country or region to another. By taking a targeted approach, our scientists are working to show that asthma is not one disease, but many smaller clusters of diseases, each with a different cause. And each different cause requires a different treatment, not unlike cancer.

Paul Hudson PerMed 2015But these breakthrough innovations mean nothing if patients can’t access them. I am realistic that no single company has all the answers. We’re seeing the potential to begin aggregating large amounts of data through information-sharing across the healthcare system. At the same time, we need drug development teams and diagnostic partners to work alongside industry stakeholders and regulatory authorities to help shape the treatment pathways for personalized healthcare and support smart clinical trial design.

This important subject has been elevated to the highest levels of the government, and important dialogue is beginning to take place in the nation’s capital through initiatives like 21st Century Cures, the Senate HELP Committee’s Innovation for Healthier Americans Report and President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Many of these recommendations look to bring about incremental advancements in the way the FDA uses real world evidence, can lead to improvements in how the FDA approaches drug and device combination product reviews and can help to ensure that the agency is more broadly accepting of novel clinical trial designs.

It’s imperative that we evolve our pricing structure to better reflect this value – for both patients and healthcare stakeholders. Payers are beginning to use personalized approaches to data aggregation to assess the risk of beneficiaries, and the pharmaceutical industry is working with payers to partner on innovative ways to maximize the healthcare dollar. At AstraZeneca we’ve already started these types of partnering efforts by entering into agreements with large payers in the area of risk sharing, and also experimenting with various value-based and outcomes-based agreements.

Never before has there been so much hope for patients, and opportunities for those of us across the healthcare industry to make a significant difference. At the same time, if we’re unable to keep pace with the rapid changes all around us, we will have collectively failed so many. Many of the breakthroughs of tomorrow will only be possible through advancements in personalized medicines and a clear path to making them accessible to patients.

To read more from Paul Hudson, check out his guest blog post on the Personalized Medicine Coalition’s Education and Advocacy page.

Confronting Type 2 Diabetes, a National Epidemic

The statistics are staggering: healthcare experts say that diabetes – the chronic disease that affects more than 29 million Americans today – has reached epidemic proportions. The cost of diabetes in 2012 in the United States was $245 billion in healthcare expenses, and authorities predict that if historic trends continue, there could be as many as one-in-three people living with diabetes by 2050.

While new treatment approaches have become available over the last decade, more work can be done to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with diabetes. How can the health system best manage the country’s growing diabetes epidemic? What should healthcare providers do to better educate their patients about the disease? And how can the health system work together to better coordinate their treatment?

These were the main discussion topics at a thought leader dinner during American Diabetes Month, hosted by AstraZeneca in partnership with the National Journal, and moderated by Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, National Journal and The Atlantic.

20151116_NJ_AstraZeneca_Dinner_016Topher Brooke, Vice President, U.S. Diabetes, AstraZeneca, who was joined by Lori Tierney, Vice President, Commercial Operations, AstraZeneca, kicked off the discussion by emphasizing the unmet patient needs in managing type 2 diabetes, and focusing on early action in the treatment paradigm.

As a company committed to advancing the national dialogue around diabetes, members of AstraZeneca’s North America leadership team were joined by 14 thought leaders and members of the media from leading organizations like the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington Business Journal and others.

The candid discussion focused on a variety of topics, including education, prevention and pre-diabetes, and lack of attention as a public health topic – highlighting the enormity and multi-faceted nature of this chronic disease. Attendees focused part of the importance of healthcare providers in the equation. With the growing number of people who have or will develop type 2 diabetes, it is more important now than ever before to have the appropriate number of endocrinologists, primary care doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and diabetes educators to meet the needs of patients.

20151116_NJ_AstraZeneca_Dinner_173The dinner guests aligned on the need for greater education for healthcare providers and patients, and to create urgency around diabetes – stressing a potential “lightening rod” idea that could spark behavior change when it comes to lifestyle modifications and hopefully preventing people from developing diabetes.

Several of the guests highlighted the importance of taking local community-based initiatives that are having impact for people living with diabetes, and launching those in other parts of the country, to ultimately scale up those pilot programs to service a greater number of communities.

At the conclusion of the evening, there was a common agreement that despite the large task at hand to manage the growing diabetes epidemic, there is much that can be done when we combine efforts across key parties including health care providers, patients, public and private organizations, and the health system as a whole to achieve better health outcomes.

The dinner was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

Veterans Transitioning Back to Civilian Life: Opportunities for Transformation in the Workforce

Almost 7% of the roughly 319 million Americans in the United States (U.S.) are veterans, according to the Census Bureau. Figures published by the New England Industry Liaison Group suggest that the military has over 7,000 jobs across more than 100 functional areas, but approximately 19% of these military jobs do not have a direct civilian equivalent. In many cases, additional certifications are needed for veterans to obtain equivalent jobs after leaving the service.

It is important to attract, hire and retain qualified diverse employees – to remain competitive for prospective employees, and to ensure diversity of thought, skill, background and experience are embraced in a way that will address the needs of the evolving population. What military service skills can veterans carry over to a civilian workplace and how should companies harness these proficiencies? What challenges do veterans face upon return to the U.S.? Participants of a recent thought leader reception, underwritten by AstraZeneca in partnership with the National Journal and moderated by Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, National Journal & The Atlantic, engaged in a lively discussion spanning these questions and others.

20151008_NJ_On_The_Homefront_153Paul Hudson, President, AstraZeneca U.S. and Executive Vice President, North America kicked off the discussion by urging representatives from veterans’ advocacy organizations, employers, Hill staffers, Congressional committees, think tanks and media to drive transformation so that all veterans transition back to jobs where they can contribute their training and diversity of perspective to a meaningful purpose.

The panel of speakers was made up by Eric Eversole, Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President, Hiring Our Heroes; Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gilman, Director, National Organizations, Chairman’s Office of Reintegration, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense; The Honorable Martha McSally (R-AZ), Member, House Armed Services Committee; and Matt Miller, Chief Policy Officer, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The panel highlighted the need for stronger collaboration, opportunities for mentorship, increased understanding of the evolving needs of veterans and better transitional programs.

Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that almost 49.5% of the 21.2 million veterans in 2014 are neither employed nor seeking employment. In addition, veterans commit suicide at a higher rate than non-veterans. To help veterans better transition to civilian life, attendees noted a need for more best-practice sharing across organizations and at the community level. Not only is it critical that we provide jobs for veterans that best leverage their unique voices, views and talents, but we must also work to provide support to their families and spouses.

For example, a report from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that the unemployment rates of 25 to 44 year-old Armed Forces female spouses were almost three times higher than their civilian counterparts. Attendees stressed a need for helping young service members and their families build networks and find mentors. At AstraZeneca, for example, we have a Military Support employee resource group where employees can connect with our wide network of military members and their families across the globe. Additionally, we are involved in a number of other initiatives to support and make a difference in the lives of our military men and women.

20151008_NJ_On_The_Homefront_093AstraZeneca also supports a program at HonorHealth, a hospital system based in Phoenix, Arizona that aims to hire and deploy Transition Support Services (TSS) specialists – former combat medics – to provide personal assistance to Medicare beneficiaries recently discharged from the hospital for congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia. As one of the only programs of its kind, these TSSs engage with patients upon admission to the hospital, at the time of discharge and for at least 30 days post-discharge, focusing on using medical and wellness education and relationship-building tools to assist patients in not only managing symptoms, but helping them live happier, healthier lives.

As we look ahead to the Veterans’ Day holiday on Wednesday, November 11, we are reminded of the opportunities to help employers and all Americans better understand veterans and their value in the community as civic assets. AstraZeneca is committed to continuing the dialogue and ensuring that the many voices, views and talents of military veterans can be meaningfully used to address the unique needs of the U.S. population – including the critical needs of the patients we serve every day.

The reception was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

AstraZeneca Launches Innovative BioHub in Waltham, MA

As Paul Hudson, President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America said earlier this year at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, “No one company has all the good ideas; it takes multiple partnerships and extensive collaboration to reach our goals.”

In continuing to build on our commitment to collaborate through meaningful partnerships to drive scientific progress forward, AstraZeneca was joined by Massachusetts officials last week to officially launch the Gatehouse Park BioHub in Waltham, MA. The Gatehouse Park BioHub will be one of the largest and most dynamic life-science research biohubs in the region, with more than 700 scientists and research and development (R&D) experts on-site by the end of 2015. Six companies are sharing the facilities, with two more expected to join before the end of the year.

9-10-15-WALTHAM, MA AstraZeneca announces new BioHub

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy (right) presents Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (left), with an Official Proclamation from the City of Waltham commending and congratulating AstraZeneca for the launch of the Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Kumar Srinivasan, head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston and VP Scientific Partnering and Alliances, told the audience that gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony, “At AstraZeneca, we believe that scientific innovation and great collaboration go hand in hand.

“AstraZeneca has been on a transformative journey over the past few years, placing great science at the heart of everything we do in the delivery of breakthrough medicines to patients,” said Kumar. “Our ambition is to improve the lives of 200 million people by 2025. Such a high ambition would not be possible without establishing collaborations of all types with academia and industry. The BioHub provides a fantastic opportunity to explore collaboration even further,” he said.

This new and more open research BioHub contributes to the vibrancy of the life sciences research community in the Boston area and Massachusetts as a whole. The vision of the participating companies is to continue to attract the best talent and to contribute to the synergy of the life sciences research community in Massachusetts. There will be a full range of scientific activity at the BioHub, including oncology drug discovery, antibacterial drug discovery and development, and nanotechnology.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash (left) congratulates Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (right), at a ceremony to launch AstraZeneca’s Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash (left) congratulates Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (right), at a ceremony to launch AstraZeneca’s Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Calling the BioHub a “bold initiative,” and “unique opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas,” Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary, Economic Development and Housing, congratulated AstraZeneca for the launch of the BioHub.

“You should be very proud of what you are accomplishing,” Secretary Ash said to the many scientists in attendance. “You are touching lives and giving hope to millions of people.”

Opened in 2000 as an AstraZeneca R&D site dedicated to cutting edge drug discovery, the facility is now a dynamic center where scientists from a variety of companies come together to share ideas and push the boundaries of science, with more buzz and more people than ever before. The six companies already in place are AstraZeneca, Entasis Therapeutics, Qiagen, Wellomics, Ekteino and Persomics.

This site is one of three AstraZeneca R&D sites to be transformed into a BioHub, along with Molndal, Sweden and Alderley Park, UK, where AstraZeneca researchers are working side-by-side with scientists from academic institutions to make strides in scientific discovery. AstraZeneca believes in what science can do and values the partnerships that contribute to the discoveries that ultimately help patients.

Pictured above: Left to right: Peter Blume-Jensen, Head of XTuit Pharmaceuticals; State Representative Joseph Wagner; Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy; State Representative Thomas Stanley; State Representative John Lawn; Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash; Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston Kumar Srinivasan; State Senator Michael Rodrigues; Massachusetts Life Sciences CEO Robert Coughlin

Women in Leadership: Progress and Obstacles

Over the past 50 years, women’s labor force participation has increased by 53%, according to the United States Department of Labor. In that time, important legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 were passed, advancing women’s equality in the workplace. With each of these milestones, and others noted on this infographic, women continue to have more opportunities to pursue careers they find meaningful and fulfilling.

Despite these advances, challenges still exist as women pursue leadership roles. What can be done to close the gap and increase the number of female leaders in the U.S.? How do women successfully advance in their careers, and where is more support needed? These questions and others were raised during a recent thought leader dinner, hosted by AstraZeneca in partnership with the National Journal, and moderated by Emily Lenzner, Vice President of Global Communications, Atlantic Media.

thoughtdinner__ashleygainesphotoThe event brought together national thought leaders from Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations, former members of government, entrepreneurs, and members of the media in Washington, D.C. to discuss perspectives on advancing women in leadership. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca and head of MedImmune, hosted the event and led a lively conversation among the 20 female leaders in attendance.

The discussion encompassed a variety of topics, including the importance of women seeing other women in leadership roles so they could more easily envision themselves reaching higher positions. The topic of work-life balance naturally arose, and participants noted the conversation should be reframed to focus on work-life integration and the need to embrace flexibility. According to a Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership, children are not the leading reason women opt out of more significant roles. Only about one in five say women’s family responsibilities are a major reason there aren’t more females in top leadership positions.

thoughtdinner_gloriasinclairmillerAs one participant noted, men think about how they can fill professional roles even if they do not meet all of the qualifications. Conversely, women are more likely to doubt their skills if they do not meet all the requirements. In 2014, Forbes reported that “men are confident about their ability at 60%, but women don’t feel confident until they’ve checked off each item on the list.”

Leaders discussed strategies and opportunities for gaining confidence in the workplace. One area of focus was the idea of moving outside your comfort zone. Women should become more comfortable with taking risks and accepting assignments that may not be “the path well traveled”, but demonstrate leadership skills. The ability to ask for feedback, and the willingness to fail after taking a chance were cited as tools for women to use in the workplace. Participants also pressed the importance of women collaborating and networking with each other to create a support system.

thoughtdinner_bahijajallalphoto2The evening concluded with points about how thought diversity will take companies further, and the ways in which women can begin to open up those thought channels by accepting opportunities and remaining resilient despite setbacks that may occur.

As one attendee noted, quoting what United States House Representative Member Geraldine Ferraro said describing her friend and fellow politician Congresswoman Bella Abzug upon her passing: let women not knock politely on the door, but take it off its hinges.

The dinner was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

« Older Entries