Following their 10 year anniversary celebrations earlier this month, Scott Fleming, Director of Communications at UCB, describes how the company has evolved since they first acquired Celltech in 2004.
Ten years ago UCB embarked on a transformational journey to become a specialty biopharmaceutical leader following the acquisition of the British biotech company Celltech in 2004. On June 2nd UCB celebrated this milestone, as well as ten years of scientific excellence, ten years of collaboration with clinical research networks and academia and ten years of bringing new medicines to patients.
At the time of the acquisition, Celltech was Europe’s leading biotechnology company, with an impressive history in pioneering advanced antibody technologies and encouraging collaboration between industry and academia. By combining UCB’s small-molecule chemistry expertise and Celltech’s antibody knowledge, UCB built a powerful R&D engine. Now in 2014 that powerful R&D engine remains at the heart of UCB’s activities with the goal of harnessing scientific breakthroughs and bringing innovation to the UK.
From £84m invested in 2003 to £142m in 2013, UCB has significantly increased its annual R&D expenditure, becoming one of the top investors in UK life sciences R&D. In fact, in 2013 UCB had the highest R&D expenditure per employee amongst top European companies across all sectors. Overall, UCB invests approximately 25% of its revenues each year in global R&D, and a large proportion of this investment is dedicated to our UK research activities.
Today, UCB employs more than 700 staff in the UK and Ireland across our five facilities, including our immunology research centre of excellence and head office for the UK & Irish commercial organisation. When appropriate, UCB’s highly-skilled scientists push the boundaries of their expertise through strategic collaborations with academia and other cutting-edge companies, resulting in over 150 collaborative R&D relationships.
Operating collaboratively (within a super network) is core to UCB’s operations, as we believe it allows us to maximise collective resources and knowledge. Through great collaborations, UCB has brought new medicines to thousands of patients and delivered an impressive early- and late-stage pipeline.
Over the next 10 years, we hope that UCB’s open innovation approach to drug discovery and our cutting-edge programmes and technologies will have profound implications for biology, medicine and ultimately transform millions of lives.