UCB's Global Corporate Website
Welcome to UCB in the United States
May 06
Nicole Williams, U.S. Immunology Patient Advocacy Lead
Evolving Expectations for Arthritis Management

May is Arthritis Awareness Month – a time to elevate public awareness around arthritis, a collection of conditions affecting joints and tissues in the body. At UCB, we are committed to understanding the impacts and developing solutions for a range of arthritic conditions, including psoriatic arthritis (PsA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and lesser-known forms like non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS). 

I sat down with Gene Rhie, UCB’s Head of U.S. Rheumatology, to discuss how we can improve the management of these diseases now and into the future. 


Nicole Williams – Why is it especially important to educate the public on arthritic conditions, including lesser-known forms such as nr-axSpA and AS?

Gene Rhie  – While some forms of arthritis are not as well-known as others, many of these conditions can have debilitating impacts on the people living with them, in many cases making it hard to perform everyday activities.1,2 Additionally, some of these conditions can be challenging to diagnose – on average, it takes 7 to 10 years for people living with nr-axSpA to receive an accurate diagnosis.3 By bringing these conditions to the forefront, we can foster a more inclusive conversation around arthritis, encouraging early diagnosis and tailored treatment approaches that have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes.

Nicole – From your perspective, what are the current unmet needs in arthritis management?

Gene – One of the most significant gaps in arthritis management is that many patients find themselves cycling through treatments without finding one that works for them long term. At UCB, we're committed to addressing this unmet need through scientific innovation, prioritizing a patient-centric approach to discovery and development.

Nicole – How is UCB currently innovating in arthritis?

Gene – We are continuously working on cutting-edge innovations with the aim to help deliver a personalized experience, accelerate early intervention, and reduce time to diagnosis for those impacted by arthritis. I’m particularly excited about the work we are doing towards raising the bar for how we characterize success in clinical trials.

NicoleWhat do you envision for the future of immune-mediated arthritis conditions?

Gene – New breakthroughs, resources, and data continue to arise in this space, and I look forward to what’s to come in 2024 and beyond. I think the year will bring new solutions tailored for those impacted by arthritis and their healthcare providers that help to connect the community, increase quality of life, and raise awareness for these important diseases. I’m incredibly hopeful for the future of this area, and inspired by our team’s commitment and dedication to bridging the gaps in the arthritis space through scientific innovation.

There’s so much hope on the horizon for those living with rheumatic conditions. At UCB, we know unmet needs remain, and we are committed to helping address those gaps. We also understand that each person’s struggle is unique, and we are dedicated to providing support and educational resources for people impacted by arthritic conditions.

UCB partners with organizations that share our commitment to the arthritis community. For instance, our collaboration with the Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) to produce the “Fight Back Against Inflammation” patient awareness campaign has helped increase awareness and understanding of inflammatory arthritis conditions, while also providing resources like a podcast series focused on inflammation and its impact on inflammatory arthritis. Similarly, through our partnership with the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA), we have produced the “Healthy Living with axSpA” series, providing resources to help improve the lifestyles of those living with axSpA, including recipe videos and information on managing mental and emotional health. Recently, our work with SAA on the SAA Global Spondyloarthritis Patient Summit last month brought together individuals impacted by AS and people working to bridge the gaps in arthritis management. 

By maintaining these deep connections within patient and scientific communities, we ensure that our work has the greatest possible impact.

With a proven heritage in rheumatology, UCB is growing our portfolio to deliver treatments that expand value for people living with a spectrum of rheumatic conditions, including RA, PsA, and less common types of arthritis, such as nr-axSpA and AS. Learn more about UCB’s work in rheumatology here.




  1. Furst DE and Louie JA. Targeting inflammatory pathways in axial spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019;21(1):135
  2. Ogdie A, Hur P, Liu M, et al. Impact of multidomain disease presentations on patients with psoriatic arthritis in the Corrona Psoriatic Arthritis/Spondyloarthritis Registry. J Rheumatol. 2021;48(5):698-706.
  3. Lapane KL, et al. Patient perspectives on health care provider practices leading to an axial spondyloarthritis diagnosis: an exploratory qualitative research study. BMC Fam Pract. 2021;22(1):251.