Animal studies are a critical aspect of medical research, both for generating new breakthroughs in experimental research and to ensure maximum safety of new treatments before they are used in human subjects. UCB acts as a responsible company in the management of animal welfare, and has taken appropriate steps to ensure that all of its laboratories and research units involved in animal studies adhere to established standards and policies, which are based on the latest scientific findings.
Two UCB research sites in the U.K. and Belgium are conducting animal studies and both have established an Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee, responsible for maintaining the highest animal welfare standards. These committees also review all newly proposed research programs involving animals, both to determine whether the studies are necessary and whether the study objectives can be accomplished without using animals.
UCB is committed to the responsible and appropriate use of animals in medical research, and complies with all applicable laws, regulations and industry standards.
Research site U.K.
The U.K. research site in Slough is in full compliance with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which includes the EU directive 2010/63/63. The Home Office’s Animals in Science Regulation Unit completes annual inspections of this site. UCB also adheres to the standards of the U.K. National Centre for Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (“NC3Rs”), which are based on the principles of ‘replacing’ when work without animals is possible; ‘reducing’ when animal experimentation cannot be avoided, to use the least number of animals possible; and ‘refining’ the use of animals with utmost respect for the animals. UCB is involved in several working groups of the NC3Rs, for example, the mammalian models of epilepsy.
UCB has also subscribed to the U.K. Concordat on Openness on Animal Research with an objective to be transparent on the use of animals in research.
Research site Belgium
At our Belgian research site located in Braine-l’Alleud, UCB continues to maintain accreditation of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). This private non-profit association promotes the responsible treatment of laboratory animals through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs, and AAALAC accreditation represents a label of quality and of high professionalism in terms of animal care and use. Animals used in studies are housed in optimal environmental conditions where stress is kept at the lowest level possible. AAALAC accreditation also fosters continuous improvement of scientific excellence in animal experimentation and research.
Animals used for research in 2016
Following the completion of several early-phase research projects, the number of animals used in research studies by UCB decreased by 32%.
A total of 98% of all animals used by UCB researchers and contractors are rodents, with non-human primates, dogs, llamas, mini-pigs and rabbits accounting for the remaining 2%.