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Our Company History



UCB was created in Brussels by Emmanuel Janssen in the 1920s. The company expanded and entered the US market in the 1930s. Our scientists’ first therapeutic breakthroughs came in the 1950s, followed in the 1960s by visionary research into the field of biotechnology.

The increasingly research-based company was growing. To keep up with its ambitions, UCB expanded its R&D networks, establishing a state-of-the-art facility in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium in 1972.

A significant breakthrough came in the 1980s when UCB registered Zyrtec® – a novel antihistamine product. A blockbuster was born, helping to further raise the profile of the company. A second blockbuster – Keppra® – was launched in the 1990s, spurring further global growth.

In the early years of the 21st century, UCB began to transform into a pure biopharma company. Significant milestones included the acquisition of Celltech, a British biotech firm in 2004, and then German pharma company, Schwarz Pharma, in 2006.

At the same time, UCB also filed its first biologic treatment and reshaped the organisation to ensure it was fit for the future. As the decade ended, our company was delivering strong results thanks to our innovative products. UCB’s core medicines have driven growth ever since.

Looking ahead, we are building on this position of strength and preparing the next wave of future medicines and solutions, driving future growth and creating value for patients.