|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|Traded as||Euronext: UCB|
|Karel Boone (Chairman), Roch Doliveux (CEO)|
|Revenue||€3.3 billion (2014)|
|Profit||€199 million (2010)|
Number of employees
|8,500 (end 2014)|
UCB (Union chimique belge) is a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. UCB is an international company with revenues of €3.3 billion that focuses primarily on R&D, specifically involving medications centered around Epilepsy, Parkinson's, & Crohn's diseases. The Company's efforts are focused on treatments for severe diseases treated by specialists, particularly in the fields of central nervous system (CNS) disorders (including epilepsy), inflammatory disorders (including allergy), and oncology.
Every 3 years, the company presents the UCB Award under the patronage of the Queen Elisabeth Medical Foundation to promote neuroscience research. The winner of this award is selected by an independent scientific committee.
UCB was founded on 18 January 1928 by Emmanuel Janssen, a Belgian businessman. Initially focused on industrial chemicals ( it was one of the first companies to distill ammonia from coal ), the company also included a small pharmaceutical division based around Meurice Laboratories.
In the early 1950s, UCB set up a research centre where new medicines such as Atarax (hydroxyzine) were developed. Successful sales enabled the pharmaceutical division to expand, and led to the discovery of another important compound, called piracetam. This was marketed in the 1970s as Nootropil and used to treat memory and balance problems. It remains one of UCB's key products. At this time, UCB was a company focusing on three core areas: pharmaceuticals, chemicals and films.
The success of Nootropil made it possible for UCB to build a modern pharmaceutical site in Braine-l'Alleud, south of Brussels. There, UCB developed Zyrtec (cetirizine), a blockbuster antihistamine. Other important products have followed including Keppra (levetiracetam), Xyzal (levocetirizine), and Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), which was acquired through the acquisition of Celltech.
At the end of 2002, the chemicals and films divisions were merged and UCB added the resins, additives and adhesives activities of Solutia, to form the surface specialties division. The films part has since been sold to Innovia Films in September 2004. The chemicals division, Methylamines and Derivatives was spun off and later sold to form the company Taminco.
In May 2004, UCB acquired the British biotechnology company Celltech, followed in March 2005 by the sale of the surface specialties to Cytec Industries. By divesting all of its non-pharmaceutical activities, and acquiring Celltech, UCB transformed itself into a global biopharmaceutical company.
In 2006, UCB started the purchase of the German pharmaceutical company Schwarz for €4.4 billion. As of July 2007[update], UCB holds approximately 87% of Schwarz's outstanding shares. The purchase of Schwarz enabled UCB to introduce two new drugs against CNS disorders: Neupro (rotigotine), a transdermal patch for treatment of Parkinson's disease and Vimpat (lacosamide), a new anticonvulsant. Another new drug of the Schwarz portfolio, Toviaz (fesoterodine), a compound to treat overactive bladder, was licensed to Pfizer in 2006.
In November 2014, UCB announced its intention to sell of its generics subsidiary (Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals) for more than $1.5 billion to two private equity firms.
Notable drugs developed by UCB
- Atarax (hydroxyzine)
- Nootropil (Piracetam)
- Zyrtec (cetirizine), an OTC antihistamine.
- Keppra (levetiracetam), an anticonvulsant medication used to treat epilepsy.
- Xyzal (levocetirizine), a third-generation non-sedative antihistamine.
- Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), a monoclonal antibody to TNF-α for the treatment of Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Neupro (rotigotine), a transdermal patch for treatment of Parkinson's disease.
- Vimpat (lacosamide), an anticonvulsant.
As of 2014[update], Roch Doliveux was CEO of UCB, having started in this role in about 2004. Jean-Christophe Tellier, an executive vice president with the company, will become CEO at the beginning of 2015.
UCB has operations in over 40 countries and employs more than 8500 people.
- Heather Timmons (May 19, 2004). "Belgian drugmaker seeks to buy Celltec". The New York Times.
- UCB S.A. Press Release of 25 September 2006; accessed on 12 September 2008.
- "UCB Names EVP Tellier as Successor to CEO Doliveux". GEN News Highlights. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. February 20, 2014.