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UCB commitment to epilepsy community


Brussels (Belgium), 14 February 2011 – 0001 CET – UCB, a leading biopharmaceutical company at the forefront of epilepsy treatment and research, is marking the first European Epilepsy Day by reinforcing its commitment to improving the lives of people with epilepsy.

With marketed therapies like Vimpat® (lacosamide) and Keppra® (levetiracetam), and an innovative research and development program, UCB is privileged to help meet the needs of the epilepsy community in the quest worldwide for improved epilepsy care for patients of all ages.

“There is still a need for new antiepileptic drugs, as demonstrated by the fact that, in just two years since its launch, lacosamide has now been used by 100,000 people with epilepsy. UCB is also committed to delivering solutions that go beyond treatment, through our successful partnerships with healthcare professionals, our patient support programmes and our innovative research and development strategy,” said Prof. Dr. Iris Löw-Friedrich, Chief Medical Officer, UCB.

Latest milestones for Vimpat® and Keppra®
One hundred thousand people with epilepsy have been prescribed lacosamide since its first launch in Europe in September 2008, demonstrating the continuing need for new AEDs for epilepsy patients with uncontrolled partial onset seizures.

Lacosamide is now available in 21 countries, with latest launches in Canada and Italy.

Further launches across other European and international markets will continue over the next 12 months.

These launches are supported by new data showing that lacosamide can optimise combination treatment of epilepsy patients with partial onset seizures, regardless of the type of concomitant AED used. These data have shown:

  • Efficacy and tolerability of lacosamide as adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy
  • Significant reduction in partial onset seizure over placebo in adult patients regardless of the concomitant antiepileptic drug therapy used
  • Sustained efficacy and tolerability of lacosamide for up to five years of treatment when used as add-on treatment for uncontrolled partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy.

Over a decade after levetiracetam was launched in Europe and in the US, the number of people with epilepsy who have access to this treatment continues to rise.

In 2009, the range of indications for levetiracetam in Europe was extended to adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in infants and children with epilepsy from one month to less than four years.

And in 2010, levetiracetam was approved as E Keppra® in Japan for the adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in adults, further broadening the range of people worldwide who can benefit from levetiracetam.

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Committed to developing innovative therapies for the future
With over 20 AEDs introduced since the first epilepsy treatment almost 100 years ago, the increased availability of newer AEDs should enable treatment to be tailored to individual patient needs.

However, up to 30% of people with epilepsy do not respond to currently available treatments and still have uncontrolled seizures.

At its epilepsy research centre near Brussels, Belgium, UCB NewMedicines™ is continuing to research new therapies for people who do not have adequate control of their epilepsy with today’s antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

“Despite the advances in epilepsy treatment of the last 20 years, our goal of finding new AEDs that either provide seizure freedom without unacceptable side effects or prevent or cure the disease, is as important as ever,” said Dr. Henrik Klitgaard, Vice President, CNS Research, UCB Braine l’Alleud.

UCB NewMedicines™ has built an externally-connected, ‘open-innovation’ business model and scientists have an extensive partnering network with leading academic groups and other research organisations across the world.

These collaborations involve approaches including basic research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of epilepsy, applied research on novel drug targets for new treatments and technologies aimed at evaluating unique approaches for the medical treatment of epilepsy.

“Today’s discoveries form the foundation for tomorrow’s treatments, and our scientists recognize the importance of sharing and exchanging ideas and achievements with others at the forefront of epilepsy research,” said Dr. Klitgaard.

Committed to partnership with healthcare professionals
During the last decade, UCB has worked with national and international epilepsy organisations, including the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

These initiatives are aiming to raise awareness and improve public understanding about epilepsy, reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with epilepsy, and help people with epilepsy to gain access to appropriate treatment.

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