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UCB and Microsoft Expand Collaboration to Accelerate Drug Discovery and Development

· Through this collaboration with Microsoft, UCB seeks to discover and develop medicines faster for people living with severe diseases in immunology and neurology
· Microsoft will provide AI technology and applied scientists to work alongside UCB’s scientists and data specialists, aiming to allow UCB to discover new correlations and patterns critical to finding new and highly individualized medicines

Brussels (Belgium) and Atlanta, Ga. 23 February 2021 – 7:00a (CET) - UCB and Microsoft have announced a new multi-year, strategic collaboration to combine Microsoft’s computational services, cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI) with UCB’s drug discovery and development capabilities. As several drug discovery activities require the analysis of high-dimensional data sets or multi-modal unstructured information, Microsoft’s platform can support UCB’s scientists, including its data scientists, to discover new medicines in a more efficient and innovative way.

The collaboration builds on the work UCB and Microsoft have already embarked on around COVID-19. As part of the COVID Moonshot project, UCB’s medicinal and computational chemists contributed compound designs to this worldwide open-science project to create an orally bioavailable anti-viral for COVID-19 - with the most potent series of compounds coming from UCB designs. 

This combination of cutting-edge science, computing power, and AI algorithms aims to significantly accelerate the iteration cycles required to explore a vast chemical space to test many hypotheses and identify more effective molecules. The collaboration plans to extend this model and identify other areas where computing power, AI, and science can accelerate the development of life changing therapies for people living with severe diseases in immunology and neurology. The work will augment UCB’s scientists, subject matter experts, and research partners across every part of the drug discovery and delivery value chain by harnessing diverse research information and AI models alongside human expertise and creativity. 

We are delighted to be collaborating with Microsoft to uncover new insights to better understand a patient’s condition, as well as the science, and to enable an enhanced patient experience,” said Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO of UCB. “By amplifying the power of scientific innovation through digital transformation, we hope to have a better understanding of what makes a patient’s journey unique so that we can provide personalized and differentiated medicine in a sustainable way.”   

UCB and Microsoft will explore how to combine diverse research data sets with four strategic objectives in mind, allowing UCB to:

  • Improve a patient’s overall journey
  • Increase the impact of a treatment through a deeper understanding of the biological causes of the disease
  • Systematically provide better research data-driven insights to enable the faster discovery of therapeutic molecules
  • Accelerate clinical development timelines

Together, UCB and Microsoft are taking on some of healthcare’s greatest challenges to find connected, innovative ways to create better experiences, insights, and more personal and more effective care. With the deep knowledge that UCB offers in drug discovery and the knowledge of human biology, together with Microsoft’s unmatched expertise in computer science and AI, we have a unique opportunity to reinvent the way new medicines are created.” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. 

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 7 500 people in approximately 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of € 4.9 billion in 2019. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). Follow us on Twitter: @UCB_news

For further information, UCB:

UCB Communications

Erica Puntel
Digital Business Transformation, UCB
T 404.938.5359, erica.puntel@ucb.com   

Laurent Schots
Global Communications, UCB
T: +32 (0)2 559 92 64, laurent.schots@ucb.com

Investor Relations
Antje Witte
Investor Relations, UCB   
T +32.2.559.94.14, antje.witte@ucb.com   

Isabelle Ghellynck
Investor Relations, UCB
T+32.2.559.9588, isabelle.ghellynck@ucb.com


Forward looking statements – UCB
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including estimates of revenues, operating margins, capital expenditures, cash, other financial information, expected legal, political, regulatory or clinical results and other such estimates and results. By their nature, such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions which could cause actual results to differ materially from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, the inability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals or to obtain them on acceptable terms, costs associated with research and development, changes in the prospects for products in the pipeline or under development by UCB, effects of future judicial decisions or governmental investigations, product liability claims, challenges to patent protection for products or product candidates, changes in laws or regulations, exchange rate fluctuations, changes or uncertainties in tax laws or the administration of such laws and hiring and retention of its employees. 

UCB is providing this information as of the date of this press release and expressly disclaims any duty to update any information contained in this press release, either to confirm the actual results or to report a change in its expectations. There is no guarantee that new product candidates in the pipeline will progress to product approval or that new indications for existing products will be developed and approved. Products or potential products which are the subject of partnerships, joint ventures or licensing collaborations may be subject to differences between the partners. Also, UCB or others could discover safety, side effects or manufacturing problems with its products after they are marketed. Moreover, sales may be impacted by international and domestic trends toward managed care and health care cost containment and the reimbursement policies imposed by third-party payers as well as legislation affecting biopharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement.

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