5 Manufacturing and Supply: connecting development sciences with patient experience

5 Manufacturing and Supply: connecting development sciences with patient experience

Bringing safe and effective medicines to patients is our priority. This requires intense collaboration early in the discovery process and continues throughout development and commercialization. UCB has built strong capabilities and networks in small molecule and biological production to assure reliable delivery of differentiated solutions to patients, while considering the impact we have on the environment.

Kirsten Lund, Executive Vice President Supply & Technology Solutions (portrait)

Our colleagues at UCB are very innovative. They have the space to do the best possible job to deliver a medicine to the patient that meets their needs. Innovation starts at the beginning of development and continues through to bringing the solution to patients.

Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, Executive Vice President, Supply & Technology Solutions

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Manufacturing safe and reliable medicines

UCB’s development and manufacturing capabilities support our growing commercial product portfolio and pipeline.

Most of our marketed products are synthetic small molecules (such as Keppra®, Briviact® and Vimpat®). Cimzia® and Evenity® are biologic medicines which are produced by genetically modified bacteria (E. coli) and mammalian cells, respectively.

Together, our internal development and manufacturing capabilities and external network cover the full spectrum of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) activities for small and large molecules – from process, analytical, formulation, device and packaging development to pre-clinical, clinical and commercial drug substance, as well as drug product manufacturing, fill and finish, device assembly and packaging. These activities are performed across our sites in Braine-l’Alleud (Belgium), Slough (U.K.), Bulle (Switzerland), Zhuhai (China) and Saitama (Japan) and at selected partners and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs).

Currently, 75% of our manufacturing activities (based on cost) are performed by state-of-the-art CMOs worldwide. As our objective is to maintain quality, safety and reliability of our medicines and drug candidates throughout our partnership network, we have developed strong external network governance overseeing the performance and risks associated with the supply from our partners. Furthermore, in December 2019, in anticipation of the growing portfolio of commercial mammalian biologics, we have announced the start of construction of an innovative and environmentally sustainable multi-product manufacturing facility at our site in Braine-l’Alleud, Wallonia, Belgium. The new biotechnology plant will support launch acceleration and secure long-term supply of future medicines currently in clinical development, starting with bimekizumab.

Younes, UCB (portrait)

Younes, UCB

Supporting creation of value for patients into the future

We have multiple ongoing initiatives that are designed to extend our manufacturing capabilities by optimizing our manufacturing network, increasing its efficiency and/or mitigating risks while continuing to ensure reliable supply of our products globally.

In 2019, we continue to bring innovation to our solid dosage form continuous manufacturing unit. Our ambition is to launch, produce and test our future solid dosage forms from our pipeline in real-time. This program allows UCB to collaborate with industry consortia and regulatory authorities around the world, including the U.S. FDA, EMA,  and Japan's PMDA and China's NMPA. This is an important capability to support our strong and growing international footprint in both neurology and immunology.

Our commitment to considering the impact on the environment throughout our activities is demonstrated by our innovative approach to packaging. In 2019 UCB’s Cimzia® 200mg/vial lyophilized powder packaging was awarded the Eco-Design Award by the French PHARMAPACK, for enhancing patient friendly and eco-designed package solutions.

Supplying differentiated medicines across the world

We operate distribution centers worldwide for direct distribution of most of our commercial and clinical products. We also use third-party distributors to supplement distribution. Through our global supply chain organization, we ensure end-to-end oversight of supply – from raw material procurement to delivery in each of the countries where UCB delivers directly. Our goal is to develop industry-leading supply reliability. In 2019 we achieved an industry-leading product supply level to our end-customers with 99% of our customer orders shipped on time to meet requested delivery dates. This best-in-class level of supply reliability builds trust with patients, healthcare providers, and trade partners globally and is an important demonstration of our commitment to placing patients at the heart of everything we do.

In 2019, UCB initiated a major transformation of our end-to-end supply chain. This will support our strong pipeline and new approvals. An ambitious program was defined with the objective of continuing to ensure superior customer satisfaction and flawless execution of our new product launches and optimize end-to-end supply chain costs.

Conscious that our deliveries of materials and finished goods have a significant CO2 impact, our teams have started initiatives to minimize our environmental footprint, including initiatives to switch from air to sea freight for intercontinental shipments. With this change in our freight shipments we can reduce our CO2 emissions by 38.5% and contribute to our overall company environmental goals to reduce emissions by 35% by 2030.

In 2019, our Manufacturing and Supply chain organization successfully implemented the EU serialization program at its packaging sites and third parties finished goods manufacturers and along its distribution chain. UCB was selected by the EU Commission and by the EU Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations to illustrate the successful implementation of the Serialization in EU market. Since its implementation, UCB did not face any supply discontinuity from the implementation of its serialization program.

UCB is committed to embrace the world of evolved technologies and is currently developing a supply chain digitalization roadmap in line with the Supply Chain 4.0 standards.