Over the last 10 years, UCB has delivered breakthrough medicines to improve the lives of patients. President and Head of U.S. Operations Duane Barnes, writes about how UCB aspires to innovate for patients over the next decade as we look toward 2030.
'It is a new year – a new decade – and an exciting time for UCB. Many things have happened over the last 10 years, and as we look toward 2030, we’re pleased to continue our mission of delivering impactful solutions that patients value.
Let’s look back as to where we were as a country, company, and an industry 10 years ago. In 2010, the iPad launched and transformed a world beholden to the BlackBerry. President Obama ended the combat mission in Iraq, and Oprah ended her final season after 25 years. From a health care perspective – the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and new sciences (genomics and bioinformatics) offered opportunities to discover breakthrough medicine like never before.
While UCB has also evolved over the last decade, at our core we are the same. Within the ever-changing industry landscape, our north star continues to be our patient value strategy, which starts with using the perspectives of patients to inform our scientific approach, and ultimately the solutions we develop to help them live their best lives possible.
In 2010, scientists were pushing the boundaries of what was possible, and the need for new treatments in the areas of brain diseases and the immune system continued to increase. Expanding on our rich history developing solutions in these areas and our clinical expertise in research and development (R&D), we knew we could deliver solutions to help fill these treatment gaps for patients. So, we continued to invest more than 25% of our revenue back into R&D, and to make sure those solutions were as impactful as possible, UCB homed in on what patients were saying about their disease journeys. We asked patients and we listened, better understanding the nuances and certain needs of subpopulations, such as women of child-bearing age, older adults, and children.
Additionally, from our listening, we found that making clinical trials more accessible reduced the burden for patients to participate and accelerated study conduct. As a result, in 2018, we collaborated to develop decentralized clinical trials, which are patient-friendly, technology-enabled trials at home. And we were pleased to find these trials yielded better experiences for patients and data that was more representative of their lived experiences.
Because of our approach to patient-driven innovation, by 2020, we were able to deliver many breakthrough medicines that improve the lives of patients and provide meaningful value to the healthcare ecosystem and society. This included commercializing products in three therapeutic areas – neurology, immunology, and bone health – bringing value to more than 3 million patients around the world.
In planning for what’s possible for patients over the next decade, we’re continuing to support our pipeline, which includes growing our research footprint in the U.S. with new or expanded facilities in North Carolina, Washington, and Massachusetts. Currently, we are recruiting scientists in Bedford, Massachusetts who can design, build, and manufacture to scale new gene therapy vectors and building out our facility there to feature 30% more laboratory and office space.
And so, as we progress toward 2030, our commitment to becoming the patient-preferred biopharma leader remains unchanged. We are excited to push our innovations even further, applying cutting-edge scientific understanding and technology to discover new solutions, and providing patients access to life-changing treatments. All while putting patients at the heart of everything we do, we look forward to delivering more differentiated solutions patients value over the next 10 years.'
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About the Author
Duane Barnes is President, UCB, Inc. and Head of U.S. Operations, overseeing operational activities in the United States, including market access, corporate affairs, operational excellence, ecosystem engagement, and medical operations. He works across functions and across the healthcare ecosystem to improve access and find new ways to deliver value to patients. Read more.