UCB (company)


  • Roch Doliveux, CEO
  • Karel Boone, Chairman of the Board

UCB ( € Next and BEL20 ) is concentrated a Belgian pharmaceutical and biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for diseases of the central nervous system ( CNS), respiratory tract and the immune system.

The company's headquarters are located in Brussels (Belgium ). In 2010, UCB approximately 8,900 employees and generated a turnover of about 3.2 billion euros.


The company was founded in 1928 by the Belgian businessman Emmanuel Janssen Union Chimique Belge. Originally, the company was mainly active in the field of chemistry, but also had been a small pharmaceutical department at the Meurice Laboratories.

In the early 1950s intensified UCB pharmaceutical research and development, among others Atarax ( hydroxyzine ). The pharmaceutical industry grew rapidly. Also contributed to the discovery of the active ingredient Piracetam. Piracetam is marketed as nootropil for the treatment of memory and balance problems since the 1970s. Nootropil has long been one of the main UCB products.

The growth of the pharmaceutical sector led to the development of the research and production facility in Braine l' Alleud south of Brussels. There were, inter alia, the descendants of hydroxyzine and cetirizine antihistamines (Zyrtec ) and levocetirizine ( Xusal ) and the piracetam derivative and anticonvulsant levetiracetam ( Keppra ) discovered and developed. Keppra and Zyrtec are UCB's top-selling products today.

For several years, UCB focuses on the biopharmaceutical business. By 2005 the sale of the remaining parts of the chemical division was made. At the same time acquired UCB 2004, the British biotechnology company Celltech and 2006, the German pharmaceutical company Schwarz Pharma AG.


Through the acquisition of Celltech and Schwarz UCB could bring three new drugs for approval at the beginning of the 21st century:

  • The dopamine agonist rotigotine ( Neupro ) as a transdermal patch for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Restless Legs Syndrome
  • The monoclonal antibody, certolizumab ( Cimzia ) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and bowel disease Crohn's disease,
  • And the anticonvulsant lacosamide ( Vimpat )

Advanced development candidates are, inter alia, Lacosamide as analgesics or anti-convulsant Brivaracetam.

With a share of 47%, Europe is the largest market for UCB, followed by North America with 40%.