We believe that we should operate responsibly through business ethics and a policy framework to build a sustainable organization. This benefits society and creates value for our shareholders and other stakeholders. Furthermore, good governance helps us attract and retain talent, manage costs, and build trust with employees, customers, patients, suppliers, and stakeholders.
To ensure good governance, we need systems in place that control how the company takes decisions, meets its legal obligations, and achieves its operational requirements. We have an ethical, value-driven culture in which issues are addressed swiftly and transparently. We do this through a culture based on dialogue, respect, and integrity.
Preparing for the future
In 2020, we continued to develop our governance structures and routines. We recruited a new General Counsel, the focus of whom has been on building up the clear foundations we need to ensure rapid, responsible growth.
The Head of US Commercial Operations became General Manager of the US Business Unit during the year and we removed the role of CEO of Oncopeptides, Inc., which is no longer a designated Company function. This change streamlines our organization while improving the efficiency of our US regional operation and the interface between the US Business Unit and our global headquarters in Stockholm. Furthermore, our structure is now scalable as we build an EU Business Unit with a similar connection into the global headquarters. At Oncopeptides, we are continuing to build a strong, unified culture with the establishment of a clear vision, a common set of core values (Science, Passion, Courage, Collaboration and Trust) and a commitment to further improve how we work together across the company for the benefit of all stakeholders.
We worked more broadly on establishing standardized routines by, for example, preparing for regulatory inspections with pre-mock trials to minimize the risk of a submission of a file for one of our candidates being rejected. We also conducted quality audits of our drug product suppliers to ensure that they met contractual obligations. On the US side of the business, we continued our work on preparing anti-corruption policy measures. We have hired a Head of US Legal & Compliance and additional members to the legal team such as Legal and Compliance Directors, to prepare a compliance program with focus on interactions with healthcare providers and organizations, and to ensure that we operate within the applicable legal framework.
During the year, we appointed a Global Head of Corporate Communications who will drive the improvement of communication and pro-actively manage reputaional risks, as well as establish our long-term communication strategy. Our new Director of Training will support internal communication, decision making, and career development.
Efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic included shipping more product to our testing sites ahead of time to reduce potential disruption. This incurred increased costs but successfully reduced risk and minimized disruption to our clinical trials. The company introduced a whistleblower hotline during the year. No serious incidents were reported in 2020.
We will continue to improve the quality of our supply chain and plan to further standardize our relationships with suppliers with greater rigor in supplier agreements in terms of ethical matters. Companies that supply Oncopeptides with drug products are already required to meet strict regulatory obligations as well as ethical standards. We will review the ethical commitments in our standard service contracts, realting to labor law, environmental legislation, and UN conventions on corruption, child labor, and human rights.
Anti-corruption is always a key area for the pharmaceutical industry and is an area we treat with the utmost seriousness. It is an area in which we are highly focused and have developed a detailed program, including an anti-corruption policy.
We reviewed our Code of Conduct in the beginning of 2021 and we plan to improve employee engagement with it through, for example, the use of e-learning. We will also strengthen our legal team with the addition of a position to support our continued efforts to mitigate risk for the company.
Oncopeptides is a rapidly growing organization, and that can create risk. We work closely with external partners, such as with academia, universities and healtcare providers, which may increase risk. However, we remain committed to our efforts to developing the structures we need to ensure that we operate and grow our business responsibly and sustainably.