Spotlight on UCB

The transformation of UCB

Company overview:

UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on creating value for people living with severe diseases in immunology and neurology now and into the future.

Founded: January 18, 1928 in Brussels, Belgium by Mr. Emmanuel Janssen

Revenue: €5.3 billion in 2020

Employees: 7600+ worldwide

Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Mission statement: Inspired by patients, driven by science.

Values: Belgium, integrity, and societal responsibility:

  • Caring for patients – putting patients and their experiences at the heart of everything they do.
  • Caring for people – creating a culture for employees to thrive and care for each other.
  • Caring for communities – having a positive impact on local communities and global health
  • Caring for the planet – reducing their environmental footprint.

A shift in focus for their pipeline:

UCB believes that to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases, they too must transform – continual innovation, reinvention, and adaptation. 

They have announced their first steps into gene therapy, which will fundamentally change how they treat diseases, moving from symptomatic treatments to disease modification, and eventually towards a cure.

As part of their transformation, UCB is moving from small molecules to biologics and peptides. They recently struck a deal to acquire Ra Pharmaceuticals. With the takeover, UCB will secure a phase 3 rival to Alexion’s Soliris that analysts have pegged to hit blockbuster sales.

Transforming their manufacturing

As part of their focus on biologics and gene therapy, UCB is transforming their Braine l’Alleud site in Wallonia, Belgium. It was formerly high-volume, lower-value manufacturing; focused on small-molecule and chemistry.

In 2020 they began on a €300m large-scale high-tech and high-value facility, which they expect to be operational in 2024. It will provide the facilities needed to launch and supply their rich pipeline of biologics.

“The shift of our pipeline towards large molecules requires us to ramp up investment in mammalian technical development, as well as our manufacturing capabilities,”

  • Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, Head of Supply and Technology at UCB

Building their expertise and talent

UCB is investing in their talent along their journey towards biologic manufacturing.  They are building the skills and expertise of their existing workforce as biologics and high-value materials requires specific competencies, complex data analysis, and robust quality management.

They expect to create more than 150 high-skilled jobs once the new manufacturing plant is operational. They are on the lookout now for anyone who wants to be part of our journey as they prepare for their next biopharmaceutical product launches.

Talented people with the right skills and expertise are critical if UCB is to deliver on its mission to be an innovative pharmaceutical company. UCB has a fantastic opportunity to create a better world for people living with severe disease.

How UCB recruit according to Glassdoor

Interview questions

  • Difficulty: 2.8 / 5 (average).
  • 49% had a positive experience.
  • 62% got an interview applying online.

How UCB rank on Glassdoor

Ratings out of 5:

  • Overall rating: 4.0 (Abbvie 3.9, AstraZeneca 4.2, GSK 4.0)
  • HQ rating: 4.3
  • Career opportunities: 3.5
  • Senior Management: 3.3
  • Culture & Values: 4.0
  • Diversity & Inclusion: 4.2

81% would recommend UCB to a friend. 94% CEO approval. 65% positive business outlook.

A summary of employee feedback from interviews I conducted:

  • Good work-life balance.
  • Great healthcare benefits.
  • Good employee engagement.
  • Very friendly team members.
  • The future outlook is uncertain.
  • Slow to make decisions.
  • The environment is highly politicized.

UCB is undertaking a massive transformation and has committed to building both the infrastructure and expertise needed to succeed. 

They are now on the lookout for talent to manage their future pipeline; maybe it is worth adding them to your target companies.

Good luck and take care,

Dave Crumby

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