SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- 6:00 am PST -- UCB announced today the company has joined the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation (REF) as a Pinnacle sponsor of the program: "Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis." The announcement was made at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting.
"We are joining the Within Our Reach program because we believe this debilitating disease can be eradicated and this will happen only after extensive research," said Olav Hellebo, UCB's President of Immunology Operations. "This donation shows UCB's commitment to the patients and physicians who deal with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) every day."
Within Our Reach is a national multi-year campaign to raise $30 million to fund innovative RA research in five primary areas: innovative basic research, translational research, clinical practice, novel clinical trials and collaborative projects.
"We are most appreciative of UCB's donation to the Within Our Reach campaign," said Leslie J. Crofford, M.D., president of the REF. "The generosity shown by UCB and all of our contributors in support of our research program will help us to realize the elusive goals of prevention and cure of RA."
The REF launched "Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis" fundraising campaign and an extensive research grant program comparable to the National Institutes of Health's major grant funding programs. Through a rigorous grant application and peer-review process, the REF identifies the scientists and doctors who are most prepared and motivated to work on finding the cure for RA and awards major funds through the Within Our Reach campaign to those deserving researchers at major universities and medical institutions throughout the United States.
"UCB is proud to support this program that has the potential to improve patients' quality of life and ease long-term effects of the disease for future generations," said Hellebo. "Our goal is to help patients living with RA get to better days fast and the research that comes from this donation will help us achieve that goal."
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that five million people suffer from RA globally. Symptoms of RA include joint stiffness, joint pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in mobility and can eventually lead to disability. RA patients are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions, in particular heart disease, stroke, infections, lung problems and osteoporosis.
About Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 1.3 million Americans, yet funding to find new treatments and ultimately a cure remains significantly low compared to other autoimmune diseases. To address the critical need for additional funding and research support, the REF launched Within Our Reach in November 2006.
Within Our Reach is the largest private fundraising campaign in the REF's history. It will tap a diverse donor base, and raise $30 million to accelerate the innovative research necessary to find a cure for RA. The campaign has received tremendous support from the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, physicians and patients, raising more than $24 million to date.
To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and the campaign, please visit http://www.WithinOurReach.info.
About ACR Research and Education Foundation
The ACR Research and Education Foundation was established in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) with a mission to improve patients' lives through support of research and training that advances the prevention, treatment and cure of rheumatic diseases. Since its founding, the REF has promoted and advanced the field of rheumatology by funding research, training and education opportunities for clinicians, students, health professionals, researchers and academic institutions. On average, 90 cents of every dollar donated to the REF is used to fund its extensive award and grant program.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (http://www.ucb-group.com) is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing around 12 000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 3.6 billion euro in 2007. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). UCB's North American headquarters is located in Atlanta, Ga.
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.
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