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UCB’s Braine site: Biopharma’s best-kept secret

Picture of author Laurent Schots
Posted by
Laurent Schots, Global Communications & Company Reputation

UCB’s ambition is to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases. To develop the best life-changing therapies so our patients and their carers can get on with their lives, we need the latest scientific advances and the best talent. We need the best people with the right skills and expertise. They’re critical.

We are continually building our skills and expertise, developing new competencies. Take our Braine l’Alleud site in Wallonia, Belgium, for instance. It’s where we have a new multi-product biological manufacturing facility, a plant that we expect to open in 2024.

At Braine, we’re building the skills and expertise needed for biologics and dealing with high-value materials – including specific competencies, complex data analysis and robust quality management. And for that, we’re proud to be welcoming talented, inspired, daring and engaged individuals.
Jessica Santi is one of those individuals. She recently joined UCB
as Head of Manufacturing for the new biotechnology unit. Jessica felt it was time for a new challenge after a 15-year assignment at another company.
We caught up with Jessica Santi to find out more about what drew her to the new challenge and first impressions.

What attracted you to UCB?
For me, it was both the challenge of helping the company continue on its journey to transform from a pharma to a biopharma and working in a company that is ‘human sized’. UCB has a lot of ambition but still keeps people – and patients – at the heart of everything it does. In other words, its fundamental challenge is managing growth while staying true to its values. And that, I believe, makes now an excellent time to join the company.

First impressions?
It’s been quite busy, and the induction has gone really well. The people throughout the Braine site are really friendly, and time has just flown by. We have a lot of user-friendly tools and systems at our disposal, and the information we have is also helpful. So, all in all, an excellent start.

Any surprises?
I think the outside world’s perception of UCB is outdated. Many still see it as an old-fashioned pharma player when the reality is quite different. The company has diversified its pipeline with both small and large molecules and is geared for the future. The Braine site where I work is a great example. The site has a great number of new projects – big and small.

How’s Braine?
You really feel the energy at Braine. Buildings are being revamped, and projects are taking off… all while UCB is making sure it preserves the ‘green’ aspect. UCB Braine is quite eco-friendly.

The site also incorporates the full value chain, from research to development and, of course, production. Braine is well on the road to becoming a cutting-edge campus.

Any messages for people looking for a new career challenge?
I would say just one thing: give UCB a chance!

Good luck Jessica, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
If you’re interested in being part of our journey to creating a better world for people living with severe diseases, reach out! We’re on the lookout for the right people with the right skills to join us.

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