Analyse aandeel UCB

Morningstar is voorzichtig optimistisch dat de groei van UCB op de middellange termijn zal herstellen als nieuwe medicijnen een kritische massa bereiken en de operationele leverage helpen verbeteren. (Engeltalig rapport)

Karen Andersen 23 januari, 2014 | 10:02
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With blockbuster drugs Zyrtec and Keppra, UCB has emerged as a major biopharmaceutical player. However, given the patent expiration of its former flagship products, the company has struggled in recent years to fill the gap through acquisitions and developing its pipeline products. We are cautiously optimistic that growth will resume in the midterm as new drugs reach critical mass and help improve operating leverage.

UCB has transformed from a hybrid pharma/chemical firm into a pure-play biopharmaceutical player. By shedding noncore assets, such as its chemical peptides manufacturing business, UCB has slimmed down to focus on its more profitable health-care segment. This increased investment in pharmaceuticals gave rise to the antihistamine Zyrtec and epilepsy medication Keppra. However, those two drugs, which represented roughly half of product sales, have since lost patent protection and the firm has seen its growth and profitability deteriorate because of generic competition.

To address this dynamic, UCB has made strategic purchases to bulk up its pipeline. The acquisition of Celltech in 2004 added biologic capabilities and the Schwarz Pharma acquisition in 2006 enriched the company's pipeline. Additionally, the firm has honed its focus on two therapeutic categories: central nervous system and immunology. In CNS, the firm's lead products include Vimpat (for epilepsy) and Neupro (for Parkinson's disease and restless leg syndrome). In immunology, Cimzia (for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and ankylosing spondylitis) has blockbuster potential, particularly in the expansive rheumatoid arthritis market. Furthermore, the company's pipeline has three promising Phase III programs that may further enhance its future products offerings.

Overall, it appears that the company has been able to fill the gap made by the generics status of its key products. However, we are uncertain that its strategy of growth by acquisition or in-licensing will continue to bear fruit as increasing competition for promising products and high valuations for smaller drug development companies makes successful acquisitions more challenging and expensive.


Economic Moat   Fair value   Stewardship Rating   Medicijnen
None   EUR 56,00   Standard  
Moat Trend   Uncertainty   Sector  
Stable   High   

Gezondheidszorg - medicijnfabrikanten


  • Cimzia provides a foothold in the expansive rheumatoid arthritis market, which is significantly larger than the epilepsy market where UCB has traditionally operated.

  • UCB should be able to leverage its commercial experience with Keppra and position itself as a leader in the epilepsy field with its new anti-epileptic drug Vimpat and pipeline candidate brivaracetam.

  • UCB's late-stage drug candidates could help fuel growth over the long term. Lupus drug epratuzumab targets a disease with few treatment options, and romosozumab could gain UCB a foothold in the large market for osteoporosis.



  • Generic competition has created a significant drag on revenue growth. UCB's financial performance will continue to deteriorate if the firm is unable to plug this sales drain with new products.

  • Distribution issues with Neupro led to a recall of the drug and an out-of-stock situation in the U.S. Although UCB has relaunched the product, these issues have significantly stunted the sales uptake of one of the firm's most promising new products.

  • UCB's long-term debt load is more than EUR 2 billion. This may limit its ability to make meaningful acquisitions in the future.





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Effecten genoemd in dit artikel

Naam effectPrijsChange (%)Morningstar Rating
UCB SA128,50 EUR-0,77Rating

Over de auteur

Karen Andersen  Guest Author

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