UCB S.A. history, profile and history video

 UCB S.A. is a Belgium-based biopharmaceutical and specialty chemical company that specializes in two therapeutic areas: diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and immunology. In the area of central nervous system disorders, the Company is focused on epilepsy, diabetic neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome and Parkinson’s disease, and in the area of immunology on allergies, bone loss disorders, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory disease. In addition to its core fields of business, UCB maintains UCB SA delivers small and large molecule solutions to specialists for use in the treatment of severe diseases. Its product portfolio includes drugs, such as Neupro, Vimpat, Cimzia, among others. UCB also has a selective presence in primary care to support specialist products that are administered by primary care physicians.”

“UCB History

1920s – Creation of UCB and early innovations

1930s – Expansion into industrial films and the U.S.

1940s – Pharmaceutical support for the War effort

1950s – First therapeutic breakthroughs

1960s – Visionary research into biotechnology

1970s – Expansion of R&D and European network

1980s – The birth of a blockbuster (Zyrtec®)

1990s – Globalisation and birth of second blockbuster (Keppra®)

2002 – Building resources for next leap forward

2004 – Transformation into a pure biopharma

2006 – First filing of biologic and a major acquisition

2008 – UCB shapes the organisation for the future

2009 – Delivering through innovation

2010 – A year of strong delivery

2011 – Marked by execution and delivery of growth of the core medicines

2012 – “Cross over point”

2013 – Start of new era

1920s – Creation of UCB and early innovations

  • Emmanuel Janssen established Union Chimique Belge (UCB) in Brussels, Belgium, in 1928, primarily focusing on industrial chemicals. It was one of the first companies in the world to distil ammonia from coal.
  • UCB also had a small pharmaceutical division based around the Meurice Laboratories. During the First World War, the scientists at Meurice pioneered a method to isolate and purify insulin.

1930s – Expansion into industrial films and the U.S.

  • UCB expanded into industrial films, notably cellophane, with the acquisition of Sidac (Société Industrielle de la Cellulose).
  • Entered the United States in 1936 with the purchase of the packaging business, Sylvannia.

1940s – Pharmaceutical support for the war effort

  • Manufactured pharmaceutical products during World War II, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, insulin and sulphamides.
  • Reinforced its film business and international presence with the creation of Cellophane Española in 1943.

1950s – First therapeutic breakthroughs

  • Established a pharmaceutical research center in 1952 and soon made a string of breakthroughs, including the discovery of one of the world’s first tranquilizers, Atarax® (hydroxysine), a non-benzodiapenic tranqulizer. Atarax® lent its name to a new class of therapeutic products – ataraxics – and provided the resources for the company to expand its R&D.
  • Awarded the US distribution licence for Atarax® to a, at this time, small, young company, Pfizer – helping the US company evolve into a major pharma. UCB’s partnership with Pfizer continues to this day.

1960s – Visionary research into biotechnology

  • Started to research the potential of biotechnology in 1965.
  • Consolidated its position in chemical and films, moving into new ‘value-added’ fields.

1970s – Expansion of R&D and European network

  • Launched Nootropil® (piracetam) in 1972 for the treatment of memory and balance disorders providing the resources to create a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical R&D centre in Braine-l Alleud, Belgium.
  • Still focused on three core areas – chemicals, films, and pharmaceuticals, the company expanded its network of European subsidiaries.

1980s – The birth of a blockbuster

  • UCB registered its novel antihistamine Zyrtec® (cetirizine) – a brand that soon became a blockbuster with sales of more than $1 billion

1990s – Second blockbuster and globalisation

  • Started development of Keppra® (levetiracetam), a novel anti-epileptic and another brand that became a blockbuster.
  • Keppra® was approved in the United States in 1999 and launched in 2000.
  • Zyrtec® reached blockbuster status.
  • UCB established a presence in Japan with the acquisition of the pharma division of Fujirebio (Tokyo) including a factory in Saitama.
  • Acquired two pharmaceutical firms in the United States: Whitby Pharmaceuticals and Northampton Medical, to create UCB Inc.
  • Broadened the presence in Asia (Korea and Thailand).

2002 – Builds resources for next leap forward

  • Acquired Resins, Additives, and Adhesives division from Solutia, Inc. which merged with UCB’s Chemicals and Films divisions to form one division called Surface Specialties. The sale of these businesses three years later provided the resources for UCB to transform itself into a pure biopharma.
  • Keppra® became market leader in the US.

2004 – Transformation into a pure biopharma started

  • UCB to focus solely on “biopharmaceuticals” – a combination of large, antibody-based molecules and small, chemically-derived molecules.
  • Acquired the leading British biotechnology company, Celltech, and sold its Films and Chemicals Divisions. A year later (2005) it sold its Surface Specialties Division.
  • R&D focus expanded from two therapeutic areas (CNS and Allergy/Respiratory) to four therapeutic areas (CNS, Inflammation, Oncology, and Allergy/Respiratory). Allergy and Respiratory were later included in Inflammation.

2006 – First filing of a biologic and a major acquisition

  • Cimzia®, our most advanced biologic was filed for regulatory approval in the United States and Europe for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.
  • Acquisition of Schwarz Pharma, the largest in UCB’s history, enriching our pipeline and product range, taking us into new fields, notably Parkinson’s disease.

2008 – UCB with strong focus

  • Several launches in core areas: 
    – Cimzia® – Crohn’s disease (U.S.)
    – Keppra®XR – adjunctive therapy in epilepsy (U.S.)
    – Vimpat® – adjunctive therapy in epilepsy (Europe)
    – Xyzal® – oral solution antihistamine (U.S.)
  • With strong focus on specialists in CNS and immunology in Europe and in the U.S. as well as in Japan (partner: Otsuka), UCB is ready for the future – Becoming a next generation Biopharma

2009 – Delivering through innovation

  • Another year of major launches:
    – Cimzia® – rheumatoid arthritis (U.S. and Europe)
    – Neupro® – restless legs syndrome (Europe)
    – Vimpat® – adjunctive therapy in epilepsy (U.S.)
  • UCB successfully re-financed its debt through different bonds and new credit facilities.

2010 – a year of strong delivery

  • Over 203 000 patients – almost doubled compared to 2009 – treated with UCB’s new core products in over 27 countries across the globe
  • Pipeline strengthened and moving ahead with seven Phase 3 projects and six Phase 2 projects ongoing in CNS and immunology

2011 – marked by execution and delivery of growth of the core medicines

  • More than 304 000 patients treated with UCB’s core products in 28 countries, including in emerging markets such as Russia or Brazil
  • A strong late stage pipeline

2012 – “Cross over point”

  • This ‘cross over’ is the inflection point which marks UCB’s transformation into a patient-centric biopharmaceutical company
  • Sales of our three core medicines – for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome – have eclipsed sales of UCB’s established epilepsy drug.

2013 – Start of new era

Growth of core medicines in 2013 creates a strong foundation at start of new era.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Ucb-group.com

**Video published on YouTube by “UCB