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Someone who takes on new challenges and expands her own world.

Maiko Takada

Quality & Regulatory
Compliance Unit
Quality Assurance Dept.
Since 2002

The challenge of the unknown.

Maiko Takada researched pharmacokinetics in her undergraduate years because she wanted to shed light on the mechanisms by which people recovered their health with medicine. She says she first became interested in Chugai Pharmaceutical after learning that it had a researcher who was an authority in this field. ‘I wanted to work with that person and I had heard that, as a company, Chugai Pharmaceutical put a lot of effort into developing its human capital, actively giving young people opportunities. So, I applied to Chugai Pharmaceutical, thinking that this was where I really wanted to build my career.’ After joining the company, Takada engaged in research of the kinetic properties of low weight molecules, obtaining the chance to work with the researcher she respected. In her fourth year at the company, however, she reached a major turning point. She was transferred from the research division to the Quality Assurance Department.

The Quality Assurance Department manages the manufacturers regarding the quality of pharmaceuticals, based on the relevant legislation. Takada transferred from her research position and took on the challenge of a completely new world. However, Takada feels a great sense of reward in this work. ‘In my previous job in basic research, it can take a long time, from five to ten years, to produce results, but in quality assurance work, I can gain a sense of achievement in my work in a much shorter timeframe. There are also many opportunities to deal with overseas manufacturers, so the scale of my work is global. I have always liked English and had wanted to experience a job that involved communicating in English with many people, so in that respect, it was the kind of environment I had hoped for.’

Creating “systems”.

According to Takada, the ultimate joy of quality assurance work comes from creating “systems” in the company for contributing to patients, medical institutions, and Chugai Pharmaceutical’s own business. Currently, she is involved in responding to quality problems that occur in the manufacturing process in the plants, where she is focused on building new information management systems. ‘If a product with a quality problem were to be shipped out of the plant, it would cause a great deal of trouble to the patients and the medical institutions, and it would also significantly damage trust in Chugai Pharmaceutical. On the other hand, if production stops, supply will be delayed, which will also inconvenience the patients who are waiting for that product. I am constantly wracking my brains to find ways of keep the impact to a minimum in the event of trouble.’

Takada is currently working on the establishment of a system for the early reporting to top management of information about problems in the plant and for the support of appropriate decision-making. Because she deals with all of the plants that manufacture Chugai Pharmaceutical’s products, covering all products, including investigational products and marketed products, the level of knowledge required of her for the handling of quality information is extremely high. ‘The quality assurance job does not actually create products, but, by creating systems for swift judgments regarding quality, bringing in the entire company, it helps to raise the added value of the products. I have a great sense of the significance of the contributions I make in this regard and I find the challenge extremely rewarding.’

With a “proactive” stance.

Takada gave birth to her first child in 2011 and took a year’s parental leave. Since returning to work, she has continued to build her career in her job in quality assurance. Takada’s child is still small, but she strives to balance her work and family by taking advantage of the shortened hours scheme and with the consideration of her boss and colleagues. Her vitality toward her work is born from the fulfilling way she spends her days. How does Takada, who has been with the company for more than ten years already, see the culture of Chugai Pharmaceutical? ‘I think it has many people who are serious and kind. In my job, I deal with people from many divisions, and whenever I ask for something, people will always respond meticulously. Also, everyone has their own conviction about what they should do for the sake of the patients. I find that culture very appealing.’

Despite the great responsibility of her job, Takada is enjoying the challenge of quality assurance more and more every day. ‘Our slogan at the moment is “proactive quality assurance.” Instead of acting only after a problem has occurred, we work in unison with the product design and process development people from the R&D stages, developing countermeasures in advance for predicted risks, to prevent problems before they occur. If we can achieve this new kind of quality assurance, trust in Chugai Pharmaceutical will become even greater and we will be able to contribute more to patients and medical institutions.’ New challenges are the source of Takada’s energy. She speaks passionately about the fact that Chugai Pharmaceutical offers as many opportunities to take on such challenges as you could want.

*The contents of this article, and the divisions that the people featured in this article belonged to and the names of those divisions are current as of the time of the interview.


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