Case Study

Astellas Pharma Inc.

Scientists wearing goggles
3 months

to launch 12 additional regional sites



Astellas needed a new network of global and regional sites that maintained corporate transparency and increased brand awareness.


A legacy content management system (CMS) and infrastructure made it impossible to unify more than 30 regional sites under one global brand.

Our Solution

Drupal 8 CMS, Acquia Cloud Edge, Acquia Site Factory

  • Astellas launched its global corporate site in less than 5 months.
  • The company launched 12 additional regional sites within 3 months.
  • 2017 Engage Award Winner for Best Pharmaceutical Experience.

The Client  

Astellas Pharma Inc., based in Tokyo, is a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products.

The Situation

Today, pharmaceutical giants are closing the digital gap by making websites easier to read, use and understand. Why?  Seventy percent of consumers are choosing to manage health and wellness online. This shift has changed how patients, caregivers and stakeholders interact with pharmaceutical companies, and the increased visibility is not without its challenges. Many organizations struggle to properly govern the distribution of content across various regions, languages and product lines. For Astellas, its brand has always been built on trust and transparency; this philosophy needed to be at the center of its digital strategy.

Astellas required a new global corporate site that not only delivered critical information to customers and shareholders, but amplified brand awareness around the world. So it asked Acquia and digital agency CI&T to help build a digital factory to best deliver and govern websites on a global scale.

The Challenge

Pharmaceutical companies are expected to deliver critical information in a timely, secure and stable manner, no matter the region or language. Unfortunately, a legacy content management system prevented Astellas from creating the user experience that stakeholders expect. Regional staff felt the pain too; content had to be manually updated across all 30 regional sites. As Astellas continued to increase its global, this manual effort came unmanageable.  

Because Astellas is a public company, it's crucial that various stakeholders can access the right content at the right time. However, an end-of-life infrastructure only exacerbated this challenge. Regional sites were running on seperate servers making platform management costly and unreliable. Security risks were also top of mind. This disparity in infrastructure prevented Astellas from updating sites with the latest security protections and patches.

Astellas has built its brand on transparency and trust; its websites needed to deliver the same experience. The company needed a partner that would help guarantee operational efficiency and bring its digital brand to life.

The Solution

CI&T Japan is renowned for helping life sciences companies find success with digital, so it recommended Acquia as the best fit to execute digital governance across security, time-to-market, standardization and user experience. Our technical team, including members from professional services and our Asia Pacific office, helped Astellas identify the best platform for multisite management: Drupal 8 CMS and Acquia Site Factory.

Acquia kicked off development by building a site template that can be used across all regional sites. Acquia Site Factory’s approach to site development utilizes a Drupal 8 distribution, which made the creation of regional sites faster and more efficient than ever before. For Astellas, standardization does not equal boring; Acquia Site Factory helps enforce brand guidelines to minimize the gap between global and regional sites. For end-users, this means that every interaction with Astellas is accessible and intuitive.


The team at Astellas is empowered to launch regional sites knowing that they are fully protected by our strict security standards. Our global operations team manages Astellas’ cloud platform to ensure high availability and to proactively respond to any threats. Our team is committed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to guarantee operational efficiency. Astella’s implementation of Acquia Cloud Edge Protect doesn’t hurt either; it helps block malicious attacks with its WAF functionality to increase user experience and ensure reliability.

“By choosing to have Acquia Site Factory, we were able to build an IT infrastructure to optimize system architecture and operation at the global level. We believe that by utilizing this service we were able to achieve the highest level of availability and security that is essential for timely and appropriate information disclosure to our stakeholders.” said Mr. Shinya Suda, corporate vice president of the information systems.

Acquia Site Factory relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for best-in-class cloud computing power that helps us deliver open source digital experience innovation to Astellas with enterprise scale, security, and reliability all over the world using AWS services like EC2 and Aurora.

The Results

With Acquia and CI&T, the new network of sites has driven the “Astellas Way” to deliver security, time-to-market, innovation and unparalleled user experience. With Acquia Site Factory, Astellas launched its corporate site in less than five months. Soon after, Astellas also launched its Japan site, which includes the largest volume of content for users.

Astellas has also launched 12 regional sites for audiences in Indonesia, China, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia, and Malaysia. Next, Astellas will continue to leverage Acquia Site Factory to launch regional sites in both American and European regions.

In addition to platform governance, Astellas’ global network of sites is also secure and reliable: “We guarantee platform operation 24/7, and we also manage surveillance and operating environments,” said Mr. Yoichiro Kawanami, section manager of the information system department at Astellas Pharma. “Now, we have a complete system for troubleshooting. Security measures for WAF and CDN functions are provided through Acquia Cloud Edge Protect, which can block malicious attacks.”

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