Emmanuel Janssen, the founder of UCB, in the 1930s.
UCB’s history is backed by 90+ years of innovation, transformation, and passion. These qualities include the decades of expertise in science utilized by UCB. Founded in 1928 by the entrepreneur, Emmanuel Janssen, as a company with new innovative chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the history of UCB is strongly intertwined with that of the Janssen family. Four successive generations have been reference shareholders of the company, leading it in new directions while also providing stability.
“UCB has gone through highs and lows. But the family stayed together, they held on.” – Daniel Janssen, Honorary CEO, UCB
Established during the turbulent inter-war years, the fledging chemical business, which was almost brought to the brink of collapse, successfully survived its way through a series of world crises. Surviving both the Great Depression and the Second World War, UCB has followed a vigorous pattern of growth with bold leadership and a strong spirit of entrepreneurship. Transforming challenges such as Europeanization, globalization, and scientific advancements into incredible opportunities is one of the most remarkable achievements the company holds within its history.
In the mid-1990s, UCB had fulfilled two of its long-awaited dreams. First the company was fully settled in the United States with establishing its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994; second, UCB was about to join the top group of drug firms that had launched a blockbuster product, which began UCB’s history in immunology. UCB’s entrance into neurology (epilepsy) shortly followed in 2000.
In 2004, UCB reinforced its pharmaceuticals expertise and further expanded its immunology portfolio by acquiring a science-based, British biotechnological company, Celltech. Simultaneously, UCB sold its chemicals and other activities, making it a pure biopharmaceuticals company. And in 2006, UCB acquired the German firm Schwarz Pharma, expanding its neurology pipeline as well.
Ninety years later, UCB leads as a global patient-preferred biopharma company with 3.5 million patients using our medicines. We are continuously working to discover novel mechanisms of action and innovative solutions in order to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases. We continue to focus on neurology and immunology disorders, including those that are rare – putting patients at the center of our world.
We have grown to a team of more than 8,300 employees with operations in nearly 40 countries. In the U.S., we have 1,600 colleagues across sites in Atlanta, Raleigh, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Boston, Massachusetts, Seattle, Washington, and in the field, through new acquisitions and organic growth. We work together in unity with a common purpose: to keep patients at the heart of everything we do and to create sustainable value for them, now and in the future.
In the Future
“Traditionally, science is connected to the patient. We want to connect patients to science. This is the business model of today and tomorrow.” – Jean-Christophe Tellier, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Executive Committee, UCB
At UCB, we want to give people with severe diseases the freedom to live their best lives. We know that the challenges facing the world, from climate change to rising inequalities, are inextricably linked and that businesses have a key role to play to ensure a sustainable future for all. We are guided by the firm conviction that we can deepen our impact by addressing challenges at the intersection of our Patient Value Strategy and wider societal interests. With more than 90 years behind us, we are looking to the future to continue to help create healthier world for all.
Read UCB’s full history in this e-book.