People with severe and rare diseases far too often feel forgotten, unheard, or misunderstood. When UCB scientist Kate Sherry, PhD, shows up for work, she is motivated each day by the knowledge that she is making a tangible difference in the lives of patients.
“When you work in the severe disease space, you begin to see the work like a puzzle,” says Sherry. “Many of these diseases are rare, and you have to understand all of the pieces – the biology behind the disease, of course, but also the real ways that it affects those who live with it. Our job then is to find the pieces that fit together to create treatments that work for patients.”
With the addition of a growing UCB research and development (R&D) hub underway in the Greater Boston area, Kate is just one of more than 1,400 employees in the United States and 7,500 across nearly 40 countries who are laser-focused on discovering, developing, and deploying new solutions for patients suffering from severe and rare diseases that will make a meaningful difference in their lives.
Backed by decades of experience, UCB has built itself around a strong conviction: their work must contribute to a meaningful impact on the lives of people with severe diseases. For UCB, this belief manifests in a number of ways – from their unique approach to R&D to their commitment to recruiting talent with diverse experiences to philanthropic endeavors that connect them more closely with patient communities. The connective tissue is an unwavering commitment to never losing sight of the patient – what UCB calls its Patient Value Strategy.
As a global pharmaceutical innovator, this Patient Value Strategy is readily apparent in the way that UCB approaches the development of new treatments. Patients are brought in as partners throughout the process so that their lived experience can inform the innovation path. For example, UCB’s R&D team partners with patients to improve clinical trial study design, review scientific protocols, and get their direct input. This approach not only results in treatments that are more tailored to the needs of the patient community, but also builds a bond between researchers and patients that helps keep them inspired and motivated.
“I’ve had the privilege of being involved with a pharmaceutical product that has gone to market and another that is in a Phase 3 clinical trial. Being able to interface with patients and get to know their unique challenges and needs is invaluable,” said Teresa Soucy, a senior research scientist at UCB. “It’s incredibly validating to see the work you do translate into solutions that improve the lives of patients.”
Living this commitment to patient value means investing more time and resources into the research process. In fact, UCB invests a quarter of all revenue back into research and development, well above the industry standard. It is this investment that allows the R&D team to partner with patients who can give them first-hand insights into the ways their lives are affected by their conditions. Informed by this connection to the patient communities it serves, UCB has pioneered work in cutting-edge areas like protein engineering and structural biology, along with harnessing the power of predictive analytics and machine learning to drive future discoveries.
In addition to delivering much needed clinical solutions, UCB’s efforts extend beyond the laboratory. Programs like the UCB Community Health Fund, designed to reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations affected by Covid-19 and the UCB Epilepsy Scholarship that provides educational opportunities to those whose lives are impacted by epilepsy, help improve patient experiences and bring meaningful resources to the communities it serves.
“Our team’s dedication to understanding the patient first, letting R&D follow their needs, and providing support for these communities beyond just those clinical interactions truly sets UCB apart,” said Duane Barnes, President of UCB, Inc. and head of U.S. Operations. “We’ve made a commitment to partner with the patient communities we serve because we believe building those connections is instrumental in delivering the right solutions to patients with rare and severe diseases who are too often overlooked.”
UCB has carved out a singular position as a biopharmaceutical innovator with a unique manifestation of its commitment to put patients and what they value at the center of everything they do, now and in the future. By connecting researchers with patients, health care providers and caregivers, they are able to deliver more tailored solutions based on first-hand insights and stay informed and motivated. Putting patients at the heart of everything they do unites the thousands of minds employed by UCB worldwide, who are inspired each day by the patients they serve and driven by science to deliver what those patients need.