UCB builds on its R&D footprint to form a research satellite facility within King’s College London | UCB
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UCB builds on its R&D footprint to form a research satellite facility within King’s College London

  • UCB builds on its strategy of enhancing capabilities by establishing satellite research facilities in innovative environments, embedding company scientists within global centres of excellence to complement its two major international research hubs in Belgium and the UK
  • The collaboration with King’s College London is initially anticipated to help progress one novel and innovative early phase pipeline asset into human clinical studies by early 2020
  • This announcement builds on UCB’s recent announcement to invest up to £1 billion over 5 years to renew and enhance its major R&D hub in the UK

Brussels, Belgium and Slough, UK – 15 February 2019 (GMT) – UCB today expanded its global satellite research site strategy by signing a new three-year research and development collaboration agreement with King’s College London, UK. Today’s announcement furthers UCB’s strategy of complementing R&D activity undertaken in its two major international research hubs in Belgium and the UK, with smaller satellite facilities that locate industry scientists in innovative environments conducive to building new capabilities. This collaboration with King’s also builds upon the recent successful execution of three satellite research sites in the US resulting from acquisitions of Beryllium (Boston and Seattle) and Element Genomics (Durham, NC) which will boost UCB's capabilities in genomics, protein engineering and structural biology. 

Over the course of the collaboration, leading UCB and King’s scientists will work together on-site at the Guy’s Campus - where King’s is developing a Biotech Hub - to optimise collective expertise in effectively translating basic research and clinical insights into impactful treatments for patients with unmet medical needs. It is anticipated that the collaboration will initially focus on the progression of one novel and innovative medicine into human clinical studies by the beginning of 2020. 

UCB and King’s will invest in this collaboration over an initial three-year period, with the potential to further extend, based on project outcomes. The collaboration will be managed by a Relationship Board of senior leaders from both organisations that will assess projects to be prioritised and identify new areas of science and technology of interest to both parties to ensure outcomes are maximised. To support the running of this collaboration, UCB will invest financial resource alongside in-kind benefits provided by King’s. 

The announcement of this research satellite collaboration follows UCB’s recent news, as part of the Life Sciences Sector Deal last December, that it will invest up to £1 billion over the next five years to keep one of their two major international R&D hubs in the UK, and includes investment of approximately £150-200 million in a new purpose built, state-of-the-art facility. It also aligns with the direction of travel set by the Life Science Industrial Strategy and reaffirmed in the recently published NHS Long Term Plan1 which called for collaboration between industry, academic and NHS partners. 

Dhaval Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, UCB said, “At UCB we are proud of both our heritage in the UK and our recent Sector Deal announcement2. One of the incentives for us to commit to keeping our major R&D site in the UK last year - on top of the UK’s vibrant life sciences environment - was the potential to build upon our numerous active collaborations with UK universities. We are therefore thrilled to be able to announce this new collaboration with King’s, which we believe will further augment our collective research and development capabilities in the pursuit of innovative new medicines for patients, to solidify our position as a leader in UK life sciences”.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Vice Principal (Health) Executive Director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, said of the announcement, “I am very excited to announce this collaboration and believe that combining our world class expertise in translational research and clinical development at King’s with UCB’s long and successful track record of partnering with UK academia will yield successful benefits for both parties, and I hope ultimately greater knowledge that can be translated into tangible benefit for patients”. 

UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Belgium, with a focus on developing innovative treatments for patients with neurological and immunological conditions. Since acquiring Celltech in 2004 UCB has invested heavily in the UK, reinvesting between 23-28% of revenue back into R&D per annum, making the company one of the most research intensive companies in Europe. UCB has an extensive network of collaborations with UK universities, charities and other companies, with UCB’s scientists working with leading researchers to advance science and deliver the solutions that patients need. 

Notes to editors
For further information, please contact UCB: 

Laurent Schots
Global Media Relations

Ross Carroll
UK External Affairs Director

About UCB
UCB 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 in immunology or neurology. With more than 7500 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 4.5 billion in 2017. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB:BB). 

Forward looking statements - UCB
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  1. NHS England. The NHS Long Term Plan. https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf. Last accessed: February 2019
  2. Office for Life Sciences. Life Sciences Sector Deal 2, 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-sciences-sector-deal/life-sciences-sector-deal-2-2018. Last accessed: February 2019


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