TO HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, PATIENTS, PARTNERS AND OUR COMMUNITY
Updated January 26, 2021
First and foremost, we would like to express our continued sincere sympathy to all the people around the world who have been adversely affected by the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We wish for the speedy recovery of those impacted and hope for an end to the pandemic as soon as possible.
At Daiichi Sankyo, our top priority is to help protect the well-being and safety of our entire community -- our patients, the healthcare providers who treat them, our employees, and our partners. We are dedicated to delivering an uninterrupted supply of our medicines, ensuring that our clinical trials continue safely and appropriately, proactively studying potential medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent COVID-19, and dedicating charitable funds and partnership to organizations in our communities and beyond.
As such, we have taken measures to contribute to the overall effort to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and lessen the negative effects of this current pandemic.
Our Company’s Efforts to Limit the Spread of the Virus that Causes COVID-19
At U.S. affiliate Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., all employees and contractors who work in our 211 Mt. Airy Road building in Basking Ridge, NJ began working from home on Monday, March 16, 2020, and continue to do so until further notice. On the same day, all field-based employees ceased all live, face-to-face interactions with customers, healthcare providers, payers and other business associates. These measures are in addition to travel restrictions we had already implemented for our associates over the previous several weeks, to support the global effort to limit exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
On June 1, 2020, field-based, customer-facing employees were given the option to return to live interactions. This option was provided given that a number of our customers and customer sites were lifting restrictions and requesting live interactions with our field-based employees to gain accurate information about our medicines for the treatment of patients. Customer-facing employees are not required to return to live field activities at this time if they are not comfortable engaging in face-to-face exchanges or if their local government still has stay-at-home restrictions in place. In these cases, Daiichi Sankyo will continue to support customers utilizing our approved virtual and remote capabilities. Daiichi Sankyo is providing all customer-facing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) and will honor all customer-site requirements for live visits.
Working from home will remain the primary work location for Home Office employees until at least September 2021. On August 3, 2020, the Basking Ridge office re-opened for employees who wish to come to the office. We limit building density based on local government guidelines, require masks, require social distancing, and put other measures in place to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus and protect anyone who enters our building.
Daiichi Sankyo Group affiliates across the globe also took similar measures as guided by local government and other guidelines. In our Tokyo Headquarters, our Emergency Response Team is led directly by our global CEO, Sunao Manabe. In countries or regions where the infection rapidly expanded and/or is still pervasive, Daiichi Sankyo Group employees and contractors able to work from home are being proactively encouraged to do so.
Given the nature of our work, it is not possible for everyone to work remotely. We share immense appreciation for our colleagues dedicated to ensuring the continuous and safe supply of our medicines, who continue to serve our patients, working hard in our laboratories, manufacturing and packaging sites in multiple countries.
Continuous Product Supply and Delivery
We know the diseases and conditions that are managed with our medicines will not wait for the COVID-19 situation to resolve. At the earliest signs of this virus, we immediately began taking necessary measures to ensure the supply and delivery of our products worldwide. To date, there has been no disruption to our supply chain or the delivery of our medicines to the people who need them, in the U.S. or elsewhere. Nevertheless, we continue to monitor this situation closely, as we establish processes to help manage any future impact on our ability to deliver medicines.
Supporting our U.S. Healthcare Providers and Patients
As patients and providers still need access to medications and the information that allows them to use our products safely and effectively, we are communicating with our key stakeholders via remote technology when face-to-face interactions are not possible. Though some of our team members are working remotely, our Representatives, Medical Science Liaisons, Health Outcomes Liaisons, and staff throughout our entire organization, are available to support providers and their patients.
Our Daiichi Sankyo Contact Center is available for healthcare providers and patients with questions or concerns about our products: 877-437-7763. In addition, Daiichi Sankyo Access Central provides support and information to help patients access our products, including providing product at no cost to eligible uninsured or underinsured patients: https://dsiaccesscentral.com/.
Ongoing Clinical Trials
While some clinical trial sites are beginning to return to more live interactions, we understand and support local clinical research resources in many areas being assigned to meet the needs of the broader community during this time. Daiichi Sankyo continues to partner with our CROs and clinical trial investigators to support their ability to meet trial protocol and ethics requirements during this unprecedented public health crisis. We are also providing personnel to help to assure everyone’s safety and allow continued treatments for trial participants.
Our Clinical Trials Response Core Team continues to meet and evaluate new or revised guidance issued by global health authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency and the European Medicines Agency. As needed with each update, Daiichi Sankyo communicates directly with internal and external stakeholders regarding any changes related to the conduct of clinical trials of medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has caused some delays in enrollment of patients as well as in the collection and review of study data; however, the study teams have worked diligently to address the impact and have implemented robust mitigation strategies to ensure appropriate patient oversight and safety, and address any study risk.
Efforts Toward Developing COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics
Daiichi Sankyo’s R&D team in Japan has established a company-wide task force to promote the research and development of vaccines and therapeutic agents targeting COVID-19. By leveraging the best use of our past and present research properties, technologies and accumulated R&D knowledge, and in collaboration with external institutions, we are proactively involved in the development of a treatment for COVID-19.
Daiichi Sankyo is also currently taking part in the planning of a study entitled, “Fundamental Research on the Control of a Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” which is being conducted under the Japan Medical Research and Development Agency’s (AMED) Project for Innovative Medicines Research Promotion for the Suppression of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease. We are proud to contribute to addressing the critical challenges in vaccine development with AMED, as part of a government-wide effort against the worldwide spread of COVID-19.
We also aim to use our novel nucleic acid delivery technology in the development of a genetic (mRNA) vaccination against COVID-19. Our technology focuses on forming lipid nanoparticle structures, stabilizing pharmaceutical active ingredients, and delivering nucleic acid into immune cells with the goal of inducing a more optimal immune response compared to conventional vaccine technology.
Supporting Those Fighting the Pandemic
To support responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Daiichi Sankyo affiliates are making financial donations to a variety of esteemed organizations that have dedicated efforts to fighting this pandemic. This includes a substantial donation from our parent company, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as announced here, in support of COVID-19 countermeasures led by the World Health Organization. We have also provided donations to Healthcare Ready, the Chinese Red Cross Association, the American Red Cross, Americares, as well as to various non-profit organizations dedicated to oncology patients globally.
Funding is also being directed toward additional local organizations with programs dedicated to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Plexxikon, the Daiichi Sankyo group discovery and development center in Berkeley, CA, has also donated protective personal equipment to a local California hospital system.
In addition to donations, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., is allowing employees with appropriate medical or healthcare credentials to take paid time away from work to volunteer alongside healthcare providers to support patient care and to help alleviate the pressure on those on the frontlines. We will continue to provide additional support based on the circumstances in each country and region.
The U.S.-based Daiichi Sankyo Group member, American Regent, Inc., has been designated as an “essential business” by the governors of New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which enables American Regent to continue producing sterile injectable products, including those used in hospitals and intensive care units. Accordingly, American Regent’s manufacturing plants in New York and Ohio remain open to ensure we can sustain production of essential medications for the patients who need them. For more information, please visit American Regent’s Website here.
Supporting Our Employees and Associates
We have also established a wide variety of support programs and activities to help our employees and consultants as we all navigate through this crisis. In the U.S., our Urgent Response Management Team has partnered with our local leadership on the following programs, among others:
- Establishing wide flexibility for all employees to care for their families and loved ones
- Expanding upon our generous health benefits, including Telehealth, reimbursement for at-home fitness options, and more
- Collaborating with partners such as Cigna’s Employee Assistance Program to offer seminars to help manage stress, optimize remote ways of working, cope with loss, support children through challenging times, and more
- Encouraging videoconferencing and frequent check-ins for teams and providing the technology to do so
- Expanding our “Arigato” program, a program that allows employees to express appreciation for each other on behalf of a project, team or individual
- Holding weekly leadership and bi-weekly people manager videoconferences, allowing for open communications, feedback and other support for our employees
- Establishing creative ways for our field-based colleagues to continue learning, as well as supporting each other and connecting with the home office
- Allocating funds to allow employees to obtain needed items and establish proper ergonomics for working-from-home
- Updating our vacation policy to provide additional flexibility
- Introduced a temporary part-time working policy during COVID-19 for employees who want to take advantage of it for better work-life balance
We continue to be proud of, and amazed by, the generosity, creativity and resilience of our colleagues at Daiichi Sankyo and encourage them to continue bringing their thoughtful ideas and concerns forward as we progress through this pandemic. At the Daiichi Sankyo Group, including Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., we will continue to strive to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, as well as provide timely, updated guidance related to our efforts, measures and initiatives.
Click to view a video statement by Sunao Manabe, President and CEO, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Institute of Medical Sciences, The University of Tokyo; Implementation Period: February 2020-March 2021