Akinori

What made you decide to work within the pharmaceutical industry?

I studied as a pharmacist and was interested in discovering how drugs work in humans. I went on to study pharmacology as a post-graduate, and then started evaluating the efficacy of drug candidates using animal disease models in collaboration with industries.  I learnt a lot, not only about the mechanism of action of new drugs, but also the pathogenic mechanisms of disease. I noticed that there were a lot of diseases that could not be controlled by the existing drugs at the time and felt that new drugs with better safety and efficacy profiles were required for patients with certain conditions. This realisation led me to want to work within the pharmaceutical industry.

What has been your best day at Shionogi so far and why?

I proposed a project in 1994 to explore a new type of anti-allergic drug and fortunately my idea was accepted. The project was started in collaboration with a few chemists and biologists and eventually the first candidate to be tested in humans was established. However, the first compound failed due to insufficient efficacy. It was disappointing and people became sceptical about the mechanism of action but we tried again with a back-up compound with a much better pharmacological profile and eventually we found that it dramatically improved the allergic disease in clinical trials. The day I saw the data was my best day at Shionogi so far and I will always be grateful to Shionogi for providing us with that opportunity and to all my colleagues for the dedicated effort to make the project successful.

Tell us one thing we don’t know about you…

One of my hobbies is playing tennis, I would like to go to Wimbledon one day to see a match.

How does ‘patients first’ manifest itself in your work as part of Shionogi?

I try to focus on how we can best develop a drug quickly, successfully and cost effectively in order to get the drug to patients who really need it.