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Someone who strives to master clinical development and take on new challenges while enjoying the work.

  • # career
  • # development
  • # ClinicalDevelopment

Yoshiaki Motomura

Clinical Development Div.
Oncology Clinical Development Dept.
Since 2019

  • University

    Majored in pharmacy at graduate school and completed a master’s degree.

  • 1st year

    Joined a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Assigned to clinical development and mainly worked in clinical trial operations.

  • 8th year

    Joined a foreign-owned pharmaceutical company. Continued to be involved in clinical development and engaged in global projects.

  • 15th year

    Joined Chugai Pharmaceutical. Led the advancement of clinical trials in clinical development in the hepatocellular cancer field.

  • 16th year to present

    Promoted to group manager in charge of in-development products for digestive system cancer and urinary organ cancer fields.

In search of a place where he could conduct global trials of company-developed products.

Yoshiaki Motomura has been engaged in clinical development in the pharmaceutical industry for a very long time. In particular, he has gained a great deal of experience in operations (progressing clinical trials). After studying pharmacy at graduate school, Motomura joined a mid-ranking Japanese pharmaceutical company as a new-graduate recruit. He hoped to be assigned to a clinical development position with aspirations of doing work that would allow him to confirm the safety and efficacy of drugs used by patients at first hand. Although he was engaged in operations for about seven years at that company, the company’s main field was clinical trials in Japan. As he has always been a global-oriented person, he later changed jobs to the Japanese subsidiary of a foreign-owned bio-drug company because, in his words, “I wanted to enhance my own career by gaining experience in joint global clinical trials.” At that company, he participated in a global development project of a therapeutic drug for treating blood cancers, where he played a leading role in clinical trials in Japan in collaboration with overseas team members. He was also entrusted with the launch of a new facility to expand the organization and was engaged in its management as a leader.

So, why did Motomura start thinking about changing companies again? ‘My previous career at the foreign-owned company was very meaningful. However, my job at that company was basically to participate from the Japan side in clinical trials that were planned by the overseas headquarters, so the areas that I could be involved in were quite limited. I started to think that, for the next stage of my career, I wanted to work in a place that would allow me to formulate clinical development strategies myself, instead of just progressing clinical trials in accordance with headquarters policy.’ Chugai Pharmaceutical was the company that best fit that ideal. ‘Chugai has abundant candidates that are researched and developed in-house, and it is also a member of the Roche Group, which would allow me to participate in joint global clinical trials. I was nearly 40 years old by that stage, so I decided to join Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., hoping that this would be the last time that I would ever change jobs.’

The more difficult the problem they encounter, the more enthusiastic they become.

Immediately after joining the company, Motomura was assigned to the department in charge of clinical development in the oncology field, where he played a leading role in clinical trial operations for a hepatocellular cancer drug. After a year, he was promoted to a management position. ‘I am currently manager of a ten-member team. My group is in charge of the digestive system cancer and urinary organ cancer fields, and we are working on clinical trials. We currently have more than ten projects on the go. While also working on projects myself, I manage the group to ensure that all clinical trials move forward smoothly, in collaboration with the group’s members. Having so many clinical trials to work on at one time is a challenge, but I feel I am gaining tremendous experience and that the speed of my growth has increased since I joined Chugai Pharmaceutical.’

Motomura says that he is able to enjoy his work more and more since he joined Chugai Pharmaceutical. Everyone from other departments who are involved in clinical trials is a professional, and because of the company’s collaborative culture, he never gets stressed when a problem arises. ‘The more difficult the problem we encounter, the more enthusiastic our members become. We all enjoy striving to gather wisdom and overcome difficulties. That is the kind of corporate culture that exists at Chugai Pharmaceutical, and I see it as one of the biggest appeals of working for this company.’

Leading the industry in establishing new clinical development models.

Taking on bold challenges in unprecedented fields, as long as it will help the patients. Motomura says that this is the kind of spirit that fills each and every organization in Chugai Pharmaceutical. ‘Recently, Chugai Pharmaceutical has declared its vision of promoting company-wide digital transformation (DX), and it is also trying to change the way clinical trials are performed by using digital technology. Until now, data has been collected by patients who visit the hospital to take part in the clinical study as subjects. A method that we are currently considering is to use wearable devices to collect that data continuously, 24 hours a day. As the number of development projects grows significantly, we intend to establish new models to further enhance efficiency and speed, by leading the industry in the fundamental reexamination of clinical trial processes.’ Motomura says that, in the future, Chugai Pharmaceutical will be called on more and more to enjoy generating change with out-of-the-box thinking in a positive way.

Motomura is now keen to become involved in clinical development from the planning stages. ‘I feel sure that I am now equipped to take on any type of project related to clinical trial operations. Going forward, I want to be involved in the planning of strategies for clinical development of candidates produced in the laboratory. This company gives motivated people opportunities by giving them regular chances to talk to their supervisor about the career path they want to take. In the future, I want to become a major presence who can be trusted within Chugai Pharmaceutical and the Roche Group, as well as by doctors in medical settings as a specialist in clinical development.’

* The contents of this article are correct as of the time of interview.


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