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Supporting Takeda’s COVID-19 Efforts

At Takeda, we are looking into what goes on beyond the science for some of our colleagues as they adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, both professionally and personally.

Meet Nadja Kanduth, who lives and works in Austria. Throughout the pandemic, Nadja has been working hard to coordinate teams for product operations and juggle fast turnarounds. She remains committed to serving patients worldwide, all while working from home. Luckily, she and her husband were able to take care of their children whilst commiting to their jobs during periods of lockdown.

What is your role at Takeda?

I work as a Plasma Product Operations Lead here in Austria. My role sits in the Global Manufacturing and Supply (GMS) unit of Takeda, representing both the GMS and the Global Quality function on the Global Programme Teams. Our main goal is to translate global brand and strategic product plans into executable manufacturing strategies. In simple terms, we work to lead the GMS coordination, commercialize, and supply our patients with life-saving medicines!

What COVID-19 efforts are you part of at Takeda?

When Takeda made the decision to develop a plasma-derived anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune immunoglobulin therapy to treat patients with COVID-19 complications, all functions were immediately supportive because we knew we have the right capabilities. Of course there have been challenges along the way that we have had to adjust and adapt to; flexibility has been key.

Once we decided to take action, we had to work quickly to understand what equipment and utilities we needed to transform areas into spaces for manufacturing clinical trial materials across global sites in Austria, Belgium and the US.

All sites have had to do something new that wasn’t part of the current site setup, with teams working relentlessy to condense what can often be a multi-year process into just a few months. It is incredible what is possible when we work together as a team.  

Work has been much more fast-paced, with less time to plan, and having, or building upon, a solution-oriented, open mindset helped.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your day-to-day work since COVID-19 started?

I would say that the biggest challenge is packing 180% of work into 100%. I had full days prior to the pandemic to support a portfolio of four different brands. Taking on an additional product which needed a lot of attention, of course, resulted in having to structure my days differently.

Our capacity has been stretched to make things work, and our biggest motivator was the goal of supporting clinical trial initiation by providing clinical trial material and reaching that “we did it”moment.

Our goal as a team and as a company is to deliver a solution that benefits patients and as a result, each small step towards this gives both the team and myself a lot of satisfaction. When you live and work through a global pandemic and are developing a potential treatment for the disease, the issue feels a lot closer to home and you feel a lot closer to the patients too.

What are some initiatives that have helped you, and your team, adapt to this new way of working?

Takeda has been very supportive of my colleagues and I throughout COVID-19 to adapt to working from home.

We have been given guidelines to improve our experience and help ensure that we can maintain a work-life balance.

I found that virtual coffee breaks have been helpful in this respect. They have encouraged us to speak with each other and enabled us to remain engaged and connected as a team not only professionally but also personally.

What have you learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, either professionally or personally?

In my role as a POL, I focused mainly on GMSGQ-related acitivies, as well as supporting life cycle management and strategic projects, and I did not touch on plasma services as much. It has been great to delve into this area, and I have found the learning curve interesting, especially as our team kicked off virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, which has meant we have never met in person.

What are some pros and cons of working remotely?

I have adapted well to the virtual meetings as I was already used to this process, so COVID-19 has not changed this aspect of my work life too much. Though working from home with my family has meant I have had to adapt. Sometimes working long days can be difficult when both supporting and being distracted by my children! It can also be quite lonely at times, balanced by more time with my family. 

Overall though I am looking forward to getting back to the office, at least in part, and look forward to a more balanced approach to home & office working.