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UCB launches SHAPE, focusing on its Biopharma specialist efforts, and intends to reduce its world-wide workforce

UCB has launched "SHAPE", a major global project to realize its transformation into a focused specialist company in CNS (Central Nervous System) and immunology disease areas. By this project, UCB aims to increase focus on its core assets, re-deploy its resources, advance R&D and simplify its organisation, while successfully delivering UCB's new medicines to patients. SHAPE should lead to re-allocation of EUR 300 million within the next three years, improving both competitiveness and profitability. As part of SHAPE, UCB intends to reduce its workforce by 2000 positions throughout the world, representing approximately 17% of its world-wide workforce.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - August 28, 2008 - press release, regulated information - UCB today informed its employees and its respective employee representatives about the details of its intention to further shape UCB for the future and to accelerate its transformation to become a specialist company. With a stronger focus on its core assets, UCB aims to redeploy its resources, to simplify its organization and to adapt for new skills necessary to shape the company for the future. UCB intends to reduce its world-wide workforce by 2000 positions which is planned to be achieved by making around 2400 positions redundant and by creating around 400 new positions. At the same time, an estimated 300 positions would be re-deployed to UCB's core sites. This project is subject to the information and consultation procedures which may apply in the different impacted countries.

"Patent expiries are challenging times. However, following the recent approval of Cimzia® for Crohn's disease in the U.S. and the positive opinions for Neupro® for RLS and Vimpat® for epilepsy in Europe, the time is now to take action to shape UCB for the future and become a specialist company focused on successfully delivering our new medicines to patients. Earlier this month, we announced the 'SHAPE' project, which aims to re-allocate EUR 300 million within the next three years towards increased investments into UCB's core CNS and immunology business areas while also seeking to improve UCB's competitiveness," says Roch Doliveux, CEO of UCB. "We will help our employees to go through the changes ahead of us.  Our priority will be to look for solutions that lead to a new future. We aim to achieve this through an open and constructive dialogue with our social partners around the globe."

SHAPE: UCB's Project for Stronger Focus on its Core Business, Building the Next Generation Biopharma Leader


SHAPE aims to:

  • re-deploy UCB's resources on its growth drivers and core assets while structuring the organisation accordingly
  • simplify and clarify UCB's organisation, including flattening hierarchies and consolidating core functions in core sites
  • focus on core skills and adapt the competencies for the future
  • build the future pipeline by investing in breakthrough research and innovation
  • increase utilisation of out-sourcing for non-core activities

These combined efforts should result in enhancing UCB's profitability and competitiveness in the fast-changing biopharma world.

Background on SHAPE

UCB is actively pursuing its transformation into a leading biopharmaceutical company. UCB is continuing to invest in its late stage pipeline and innovative breakthrough research, while preparing launches of multiple new products in its core therapeutic areas of CNS and immunology. With the recent approval of Cimzia® for Crohn's disease in the U.S. and positive opinions in the EU for Neupro® for Restless Legs Syndrome and for Vimpat® for epilepsy, UCB has successfully reached the point in time to become a specialist company. At the same time and within the short span of approximately twelve months, UCB is facing patent expirations in the U.S. for its two biggest products, Zyrtec® and Keppra®.


Further information

Investor Relations and International Media Relations:

Antje Witte, Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, UCB Group

T +32.2.559.9414, Antje.Witte@ucb-group.com

Media Relations Belgium:

Jean-Christophe Donck, Global Human Resources, UCB Group

T +32.2.559.9346, Jean-Christophe.Donck@ucb-group.com

About UCB

UCB (Brussels, Belgium, www.ucb-group.com) is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing around 12 000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of EUR 3.6 billion in 2007. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).


Forward looking statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different 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, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.

Of course, UCB will respect the information and consultation procedures in any country where applicable.  In these countries, the information and consultation process could, of course lead to changes or alternatives. No decision impacting employment will be taken before the information and consultation procedure with the respective Works Council will have taken place.

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