Belgium’s UCB Acquires Lilly R&D Campus in the UK

Belgium’s UCB Acquires Lilly R&D Campus in the UK

Belgium pharmaceutical company UCB inked a deal with Eli Lilly and Company Limited to acquire a campus for its UK operations located in Windlesham, Surrey. The company will be the home to one of UCB’s three global R&D hubs bolstering its cutting-edge R&D, early manufacturing, and commercial operations in the UK. This reinforces the company’s investment in the UK and evidences UCB’s commitment to invest over £1 billion over five years as well as support over 650 high-value jobs.

UCB has signed an agreement to acquire a new campus for its UK operations supporting cutting-edge research and development, early manufacturing and commercialization of medicines aiming to transform the lives of people living with severe immunological and neurological conditions.

The acquisition of the world-class site in Windlesham, Surrey is anticipated to be completed in November 2020 and reflects UCB’s commitment to retain the UK as one of its three global hubs for research and development, alongside Belgium and the US. 

£1 billion+ Investment

UCB’s projected investment in the UK, including this site, will be more than £1 billion over five years and the transition to this new facility will support more than 650 high-value jobs in scientific research, translational medicine, clinical development, early manufacturing, and commercial roles.

The 47-acre (19 hectare) campus will be acquired from Eli Lilly and Company Limited and was formerly its second largest research site worldwide. Following completion of the acquisition, the site will undergo state-of-the-art refurbishment prior to UCB relocating from its current UK headquarters in Slough, Berkshire. This refurbishment will enable successful execution of UCB’s research plan to develop innovative treatments for patients including gene therapies and translational medicine, as well as development of UCB’s world-class antibody discovery platforms.

This new campus in Windlesham reinforces UCB’s conviction in UK life sciences and its drive in developing innovative treatments for patients with neurological and immunological conditions. UCB reinvests between 23-28% of its revenue into R&D per annum globally, making the company one of the most research-intensive companies in Europe. With an extensive network of collaborations with UK universities, charities and other companies, UCB endeavors to further advance scientific research in the UK and deliver the solutions that patients need globally. 

UK Government Thrilled

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “It’s fantastic to see that UCB has re-affirmed its commitment to the UK’s world-leading life sciences sector, and I welcome the role this facility will play in creating hundreds of high value jobs in the years to come.

“UCB’s investment demonstrates the huge opportunity for companies investing in UK science and research with government support, cementing the UK’s status as a global science superpower.” Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “This investment is a major vote of confidence in our incredible life sciences sector and is further proof the UK continues to lead the way in ground-breaking medical research. “This Government will always do everything it can to ensure NHS patients are the first to benefit from cutting-edge treatments. 

“Developing an environment that allows research and development to thrive is the best way to allow UK innovation to flourish.”

Life Science’s Champion Professor Sir John Bell said: “We have made huge progress since the Industrial Strategy was published in 2017 towards making the UK a global hub for life sciences.

“Today’s announcement from UCB is a further illustration of the research, health and economic benefits that can be achieved through investment in the UK’s life sciences sector.”

Jean-Christophe Tellier, Chief Executive Officer at UCB said: “We have a strong track record of discovering medicines in the UK which go on to make a difference to the lives of patients worldwide. I am delighted to have signed an agreement to secure this new campus for our UK hub, from which our scientists will be able to continue to develop their extensive collaborations with some of the most innovative universities, bio-techs and medical research charities, bringing even greater benefit for patients.

“This new UK site will not only support our ambitions for future drug discovery but will be well-placed to enable us to achieve our 2030 global sustainability goals and provides an environment which supports the physical and mental wellbeing of our people – essential to helping us thrive.”

Worldwide UCB’s global footprint has been strengthened significantly in recent times allowing the company to meet its ambitions for patient-focused medicines of the future. Alongside the new UK site, these include acquisition of Ra Pharma enhancing UCB’s innovation capabilities in the US and substantial investments in the Belgian Braine l’Alleud campus.

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With 7 500 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 4.9 billion in 2019. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).