3. Astellas

Astellas US
Astellas was one of only two pharmas in the top 10 ESG report that did not get any dings for negative news or behavior. (Astellas)

Notable ESG scores:
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion (+27)
Human Rights & Community Relations (+4)
Product Quality & Safety (+3)
Competitive Behavior (+3)

Astellas was one of two pharmas—Boehringer Ingelheim was the other—among the top 10 companies that didn’t notch any significant negative coverage in Alva’s ESG study period.

That counts as an achievement, considering the annual January drug price increases, a consistent reputation problem for pharma companies, are widely covered in the media and ranked by GoodRx.

In fact, Astellas' lack of negatives, particularly when it came to affordability, contributed to its high score, Alva found. Its prostate cancer drug Xtandi was only one of three meds that increased in price during the study period but remained a neutral scoring factor because the drug also posted new positive clinical results.

RELATED: Astellas puts health inequality front and center in cancer innovation challenge's 5th year

Astellas' human rights measurement was boosted by a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual equity index, marking the seventh year in a row for the pharma. It also earned an HRC nod as a best place to work for LGBTQ equality, helping to boost its employee engagement and diversity score.

Astellas addressed diversity last year through its well-known C3 Prize innovation challenge that crowdsources cancer care ideas. With the COVID-19 pandemic's disproportionate effect on communities of color and racial injustice issues dominating headlines, Astellas was especially interested in ideas that addressed health inequalities.

RELATED: Astellas innovation awards offer up ideas to ease cancer patients' pandemic burdens

Astellas notched points in competitive behavior by extending its collaboration with Actinium Pharmaceuticals for novel targeted radiotherapies as part of Astellas Rx+ initiative to develop solutions "beyond the Rx business."

Those efforts include digital health and therapeutics, medical device and drug combinations and bioelectronics.

3. Astellas