UCB Technology Platform Access programmeFollowing the launch of UCB’s Technology Platform Access programme earlier this month, Dr Gillian Burgess, Vice President of Biology at UCB, describes the role of the newly launched programme in facilitating collaborations and enabling access to cutting edge technology.

It’s increasingly accepted that the successful biopharma company of the 21st century is one that seeks out new models of research and collaboration to enable it to be nimble and responsive to the changing times. In this world, partnerships between academic groups and industry are vital to the future of scientific discovery.

At UCB, we are hugely committed to seeking new ways of working and creating super-networks to advance medical research and improve health. That’s why we have created our Technology Platform Access programme; to offer the chance for groups to access our state-of-the-art technology as well as collaborate with our premier discovery team.

In December 2013, we announced the successful completion of a multi-million investment in a new laboratory with cutting edge robotic equipment for the fully automated discovery of antibodies. The laboratory combines novel biological methodologies and bespoke automation to provide an antibody discovery platform unlike any other in the world. The result is increased capacity, improved quality and reduced timelines for antibody discovery so that sampling 1 billion B-cells to find the ideal candidate molecule for development, across a range of targets, is now more possible.

An example of the cutting edge technology available in UCB's new laboratory

An example of the cutting edge robotic technology available in UCB’s new laboratory

This investment has enabled UCB greatly to enhance the search for new medicines by speeding up the selection, evaluation and production of novel antibody-based medicines for patients. But that’s not all; because of our commitment to work collaboratively to develop transformational medicines for people with severe disease, we are setting up UCB’s Technology Platform Access Programme so that researchers from other organisations will be able to access our technology. UCB is now accepting non-confidential expressions of interest from anyone working on a target that is accessible to modulation by antibodies. We are particularly interested in collaborating in areas such as inflammation and autoimmunity, CNS disorders, fibrosis and metabolic diseases, but are open to proposals in other areas as well.

The deadline for the first round of submissions is 1 September 2014 and another round of submissions will take place early in 2015. Those who are interested can get more information or arrange an informal conversation about the programme by emailing us at technology.accessantibody@ucb.com.

UCB is passionate about delivering treatments that help patients and families living with severe diseases to live normal everyday lives. We’re proud of our work and our strong British heritage in developing innovative biological medicines. We are excited to be able to create this opportunity for partnerships that can create the breakthrough medicines of the future.