At FibroGen, we have embraced a corporate vision statement across our enterprise: Our mission is to improve the lives of people globally by developing innovative therapies anchored in high-quality science and our passion for patients.
Further, to enable our vision of excellence, we established a set of company-wide core values: empowerment, integrity and respect.
Empowerment – We lead, inspire, trust and encourage each other to share ideas and assume new challenges to excel. We are accountable to each other and our commitment to our patients.
Environment, Health and Safety
For pharmaceutical companies, the product life cycle and supply chain require the use of valuable resources. FibroGen is committed to continuously reducing its environmental footprint. We adhere to California environmental, health and safety standards and city ordinances. Reports from city inspections are shared with the management and appropriate corrective actions are executed across the Company. We have implemented programs to recycle or donate electronic equipment when possible, provide organic compost services in the workplace, use environmentally preferred office and janitorial supplies, reduced paper waste, and have worked with our collaboration partners to reduce the amount of our product packaging and to implement good shipping practices to consolidate waste. In addition to adhering to environmental regulations, we offer a subsidized public transit commuter program, onsite electric vehicle charging stations, a flexible work from home policy, global access to video conferencing and meetings, and online medical monitoring to reduce travel.
Ensuring that we have numerous programs in place to increase safety is critical to our success and fosters an experience of excellence at FibroGen. We continue to invest in lab and employee safety as well as employee health. We are also making investments in product safety and quality, and patient safety through our support of patient advocacy groups, patient support groups, expanded drug access programs, and clinical trial extensions.
Social, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our state-of-the-art human capital management system has significantly expanded our capabilities to develop and assess our employees. The biotechnology industry is an extremely competitive labor market and recruiting and retaining employees is critical to the continued success of our business. We are highly committed to building a diverse, dedicated, and impassioned team to deliver innovative therapies to patients facing serious unmet medical needs. Our core values of empowerment, integrity and respect for people are fundamental to how we attract, grow, engage, and retain our people. We focus on recruiting, retaining, and developing employees from a diverse range of backgrounds to conduct our research, development, commercialization, and administrative activities.
We consistently review and evaluate our people practices to ensure that we develop and retain a diverse, engaged and talented workforce. Our offerings include competitive, innovative and equitable pay practices, comprehensive health and wellness benefits, retirement and life insurance offerings, learning and giving programs, and flexible work arrangements. In addition to our employee and manager fundamentals learning programs, we offer wellness workouts, personal coaching and resiliency sessions, as well as access to LinkedIn Learning - an on-demand global learning management system. Our employees are offered up to 20 hours of internal career development programs each year in addition to tuition reimbursement eligibility. We build comprehensive development and succession plans at all levels in the organization to ensure that we have a strong pipeline of ready talent to meet our business outcomes. We also foster cross-functional growth opportunities and sponsor an annual promotions nomination and approval process.
The Company implemented pay transparency practices for all U.S. employees in December 2022. This initiative is part of our commitment to reduce gender and racial pay gaps by ensuring our pay practices are transparent for candidates and employees. Additionally, every two years, we hire outside counsel to complete a pay parity study, which includes differences in pay by gender, ethnicity, tenure and other demographic factors. We review the results of the study with the Compensation Committee of the Board and use such results to inform whether we have any gaps that need to be addressed. In our most recent pay parity study, there were no significant findings. Minor differences in pay did not trend to one gender or the other; differences were not substantial and easily attributed to variables such as years of experience, education or certifications.
We have increased our human capital and diversity efforts, and we expanded our diversity dashboards for statistical reporting to ensure visibility of our recruitment candidates as well as employee demographics.
In 2022, FibroGen launched Women’s Network Group, which is devoted to supporting and encouraging women to develop and advance their skills and leadership potential by providing opportunities for connection, collaboration, mentorship, and support. The Group is open to all employees regardless of gender. Engagement includes such opportunities as special guest speakers, panel discussions with senior leaders, learning workshops “I am Remarkable” and book club discussions for example.
In 2022, we conducted a company-wide employee engagement survey. We had an overall participation rate of 92% with over 90% of respondents reporting that they felt highly engaged. Further, for the first time an independent firm established a diversity, equity and inclusion index based upon 10 employee questions within the survey to measure the effectiveness of, and employee sentiment about, our progress in nurturing a culture of diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion; our diversity index score was 88%. These scores significantly exceed normative industry participation and engagement benchmarks. Additionally, we have facilitated training in unconscious bias, increased transparency and communications with employees through increased “Ask Me Anything” all-employee sessions and town halls, and our employee assistance programs have been expanded to include tele-health options and digital applications for expanded access. Meanwhile, we launched a collaboration, connection, communication, and recognition platform, called FibroGen Unite, Support, Engage (“F.U.S.E”). We encourage employees to use this platform to recognize each other for living our vision and values and for the everyday things we do.
FibroGen believes that we have a responsibility to give back to our community by supporting career opportunities for those who would not otherwise have had access to learning, developing, and mentoring in our industry. During the summer of 2022, we partnered with NextGene Girls and Young Community Developers and re-launched our high school and college internship program by providing meaningful opportunities in science for young women and men of color and those in underserved areas. We believe that by growing a pipeline of talent today, we will benefit the biotech industry and the community at large tomorrow. In addition, we partnered again with our local community Family House and donated toys to children that are either hospitalized at or receiving treatment from UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital. We also participated in and donated to the PanCAN Purple Strides Walk in Oakland, California to promote clinical trials and important research to improve the lives of patients with pancreatic cancer.
Governance and Risk Management
To enhance our corporate governance efforts, we maintain an internal audit function, made substantial improvements to our Sarbanes-Oxley compliance program and strengthened our internal controls over financial reporting. Throughout the year, the Board and its Committees engage with management to discuss a wide range of enterprise risks, such as risks related to FibroGen’s businesses, cybersecurity, enterprise risk management, and they confirm the alignment of risk assessment and mitigation with business strategy.
In 2022, we began implementation of enterprise risk management (“ERM”) and performed an enterprise risk assessment to help us manage the risks and seize opportunities that may arise as we seek to accomplish our corporate goals. ERM has implications for all areas of our business, including how we approach new challenges and opportunities and allocate resources. One of the organic benefits of a formal ERM process is that it builds and strengthens the habit of thinking about enterprise-level, functional, and project-level risks with a patient-first mindset. Our employees, officers and directors were asked to attend meetings and workshops, and provide input via surveys to help the Company identify potential risks and ways to mitigate them. As we pursue our mission of delivering therapies in areas of significant unmet need, ERM will facilitate and support the delivery of our corporate objectives. This will be achieved through understanding and identifying risks and opportunities while putting the appropriate plans in place to capitalize on the ERM approach.
To better support our preparation for commercialization and scale our Company to continue meeting the needs of our patients globally, we streamlined multiple existing systems in 2022 and launched the enterprise resource planning system, System Analysis Program (“SAP”), at the beginning of 2023, covering areas such as Finance, Procurement, Supply Chain, and Manufacturing. With the implementation of this advanced technology platform, we aim to create a better, more stable user experience for employees and reduce our Company’s overall risk profile through greater reliance on automated controls.
With respect to cybersecurity risks, the company continually invests in new information and cybersecurity services and technologies and provides employee awareness training and information around phishing and other cybersecurity risks, with the intention to protect the company against cybersecurity risks and security breaches.
Our compliance program is an essential application of our core value of integrity. In November 2022, we observed Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week, with the core principles of awareness, recognition, and reinforcement of the compliance and ethics at work. Employees are enrolled in the annual compliance program, which emphasizes the shared responsibility for all colleagues to be good stewards of our organization through our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of business conduct and ethics. The annual compliance program includes certifications to confirm that employees understand and agree to abide by FibroGen’s corporate policies and guidelines, including our Anti-Bribery Policy, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Insider Trading and Trading Window Policy, Whistleblower Policy, and Related Persons Transactions & SEC Compliance Policy, as well as engaging video program and presentations to enhance the understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in general and to clarify our anti-bribery and data privacy guidelines. In addition, the Company operates a telephone hotline and whistleblower website available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that allow employees to report unethical practices anonymously.
Integrity – We intend to hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards in all we do: our work to bring therapies to market, the science we perform and our commitment to each other.
Respect for People – We strive to foster individual growth and promote an environment that supports continued learning. We stand together as a community to build and sustain a culture of diversity, equity & inclusion; and value each other’s opinion and work collaboratively to achieve optimal outcomes while treating each other with high regard and dignity. We also believe it is critical to conserve our world’s resources and strive to create a safe and healthy environment for our employees and patients.
These values are an integral part of our culture, our rewards, and recognition and performance management systems.
We plan to continue our efforts in 2023 in critical environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) areas.