After earning a degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a law degree from DePaul University’s College of Law, Anna Richo went on to a career in litigation, business ethics, and compliance in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Named one of FiercePharma’s Top 15 Women in Pharma, Anna Richo brings almost 30 years of experience to her role as executive vice president and general counsel for UCB S.A., a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
UCB works with patients and scientists to develop medicines for serious diseases, especially in the field of immunology and neurology. Parkinson’s disease, which is second only to Alzheimer’s disease as the most common neurodegenerative disorder, is a special focus of treatment.
Parkinson’s tends to come on late in life, usually after age 60, and slowly worsens with time, causing tremors and other symptoms. It is difficult to detect and diagnose early, and there is currently no cure. At present, around 6.3 million people all over the world have received a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Parkinson’s is caused by a malfunction of dopamine production in the brain. Among other things, dopamine affects bodily movements, and in addition to tremors, Parkinson’s patients may have trouble sleeping and experience depression, anxiety, and dementia.
UCB manufactures a medicine called Neupro which doctors may prescribe with or without levodopa, a medicine that works to replace the brain’s lacking dopamine. This recommendation will depend on the stage of disease advancement and the prescription guidelines in Europe or the US. These drugs can greatly ease Parkinson’s symptoms, and some patients may also find complementary therapies like physiotherapy or reflexology helpful.
Joining UCB in November 2012 as executive vice president and general counsel, Anna Richo previously held senior executive positions at other pharmaceutical and health care companies. The corporation that Anna Richo represents is listed by Forbes magazine on it Global 2000 List of companies.
Biopharmaceutical company UCB SA focuses on the fields of immunology and central nervous system disorders. It engages in research and development as well as commercialization of new drugs and solutions to help people suffering from severe diseases of the central nervous system or the immune system.
Its main immunology product is Cimzia, which is used to treat Crohn’s disease, axial spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. UCB’s main neurology products include Briviact, Vimpat, and Keppra, which are all used for the treatment of epilepsy, and Neupro, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome.
UCB reaches millions of patients around the world with its products and solutions. It has more than 7,500 employees globally and does business in around 40 countries. Listed on the Euronext, it generated revenues of €3.8 billion in 2015.
UCB was founded in 1928 and is based in Brussels, Belgium.
A former executive of Amgen, Inc., in 2012, Anna Richo joined UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions related to severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. A member of the UCB executive committee, Anna Richo performs duties as executive vice president and general counsel for the company and oversees all aspects of legal and corporate compliance.
In April 2014, UCB released the results of its Policy for Optimal Epilepsy Management (POEM) study. The study included 249 United States veterans who used the health data sharing network PatientsLikeMe for the first time. During the study, the participants connected with other patients on the site and had access to condition-specific tracking tools and educational resources. At the end of the six-week period, the participants completed an epilepsy self-management scale (ESMS) and an epilepsy self-efficacy scale (ESES), which was compared to their evaluations taken prior to the start of the study. Of the individuals, approximately 37 percent completed the assessments and showed an improvement in managing their epilepsy. ESMS increased from 140 to 143 and ESES jumped 10 points.
The results of this study indicate that when epilepsy patients interact with one another, their conditions improve. Further, the study was conducted in a relatively short time frame, showing that patients do not have to spend years adapting to online technology to benefit from it.