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Newsroom Press Releases

UCB and Sanofi partner for breakthrough innovation in immune-mediated diseases

  • Goal is to identify novel small molecule therapies to address a wide range of immune-mediated diseases


Brussels, Belgium
11 March 2014, 7:00 CET regulated information: UCB and Sanofi have entered into a scientific and strategic collaboration for the discovery and development of innovative anti-inflammatory small molecules which have the potential to treat a wide range of immune-mediated diseases in areas such as gastroenterology and arthritis.

“We partner Sanofi’s significant expertise, strong capabilities and resources with UCB’s cutting-edge research skills and breakthrough innovations. Together we can maximize the opportunity to treat diseases currently treated by biologic agents with small molecules and thus benefit millions of people suffering from severe diseases,” commented Ismail Kola, President UCB NewMedicines.

“Immune-mediated diseases affect individuals, families, and communities and impact the economies of countries and nations, making this poorly understood category of diseases a significant public health burden,” said Dr. Elias Zerhouni, President, Global R&D at Sanofi. “Joining efforts with UCB, we will address a scientific challenge in immunology, and increase the chances of accelerating the discovery and development of future therapies.”

UCB NewMedicines, the research arm of UCB, have used an innovative approach to identify small molecules modulators of a biological pathway, for which parenterally administered biologic therapies have proven highly efficacious in patients. A dedicated team of scientists will be formed under the leadership of Sanofi and UCB, and will join forces in a discovery and development based collaboration to characterize and identify new potential therapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi and UCB will share costs and profits on a 50/50 basis. UCB will be entitled to initial upfront, preclinical and clinical development milestone payments from Sanofi, potentially exceeding € 100 million.

For further information

  • Antje Witte, Investor Relations, UCB
    T +32.2.559.9414, antje.witte@ucb.com
  • Alexandra Deschner, Investor Relations, UCB
    T: +32.2.559.9683, alexandra.deschner@ucb.com
  • France Nivelle, Global Communications, UCB
    T +32.2.559.9178, france.nivelle@ucb.com
  • Laurent Schots, Media Relations, UCB
    T +32.2.559.9264, laurent.schots@ucb.com

About Immune-mediated Diseases
A wide range of human diseases are driven by dysregulated immune function. There are hundreds of immune-mediated disorders that include joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Often these diseases are characterized by inappropriate activation of molecules termed cytokines, which are important mediators of normal immune function. When inappropriately activated, these powerful molecules can cause severe damage to multiple body systems. Manifestations of immune-mediated diseases range from mild skin rashes to severe organ failure to death. In addition to the significant suffering to patients, the socioeconomic burden of just rheumatoid arthritis has been estimated at ~$40bn in the US alone. (J Rheumatol 2011;88;55-61; http://www.jrheum.org/content/88/55)

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 8 700 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 3.4 billion in 2013. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

About Sanofi

Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).


Forward looking statements

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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