After Pfizer's exit, UCB splits from industry trade group BIO

UCB is heading into 2024 with several new approvals under its belt, but it’s leaving its membership in the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) behind.

The company opted not to renew its membership in the industry trade group after a routine evaluation of association memberships, a spokesperson confirmed over email. 

UCB will remain a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Pharmaceutical Council, according to the spokesperson. 

"We are committed to continuing effective engagement across the healthcare ecosystem and policy environment both as a company and with our industry peers," the representative added. 

UCB marks the second recent drugmaker to pull out of BIO. Last month, STAT News reported on Pfizer’s decision to leave the group.

Before Pfizer, AbbVie similarly turned its back on the trade group at the end of 2022, while also leaving PhRMA and the Business Roundtable. Teva and AstraZeneca similarly exited PhRMA after conducting their reviews of industry memberships.

Those departures followed the industry’s tumultuous summer of 2022 when Congress and the Biden administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). PhRMA attempted to push back on the bill with lobbying efforts before its passage but ultimately came up short. The group has since joined the legal battle against the IRA.

BIO, meanwhile, has been going through some changes of its own. The organization recently replaced its interim CEO Rachel King with rare disease advocate John Crowley. The new chief will officially begin his tenure in early March, the association said in a December press release.

As for UCB, the Belgian drugmaker had a successful 2023, winning FDA approvals for its generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) drugs Zilbrysq and Rystiggo and a much-anticipated nod for psoriasis treatment Bimzelx. The company projects global peak Bimzelx sales to hit at least 4 billion euros and plans to “move forward rapidly” with filings in additional indications.