Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UCB Pharma Canada Launches National Scholarship Programs for Students Living With Crohn's Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Attaining an education is an invaluable asset for most Canadians, but one that is hard enough to obtain without dealing with a chronic illness. With the objective of making education an achievable goal for these students, UCB Pharma Canada announced today the national roll-out of the 2007 UCBeyond Crohn's Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis Scholarship Programs.

"UCB is dedicated to creating unique programs and tools to aid patients in reaching above and beyond the boundaries of their disease and fulfilling their educational ambitions," says Robert Hamilton, General Manager of UCB Pharma Canada. "We are proud to be announcing this program today, and look forward to enabling patients to achieve their dreams of pursuing a post-secondary education."

The UCBeyond Scholarship Program will award six (6), one-time scholarships of up to $5,000 CDN each to people diagnosed with Crohn's disease and six (6), one-time scholarships of up to $5,000 CDN each to people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The winners must demonstrate academic ambition and will use their scholarship towards any post-secondary education of their choice (i.e. university, college, trade school, etc.) for the 2007/08 school year.

The 2007 UCBeyond Scholarship recipients will be chosen by an independent selection committee of leading physicians, nurses and patient representatives from across the country. Applicants will be evaluated based on a one-page essay demonstrating how they go above and beyond their disease, exhibit perseverance and empower others, as well as two letters of personal recommendation. The deadline to apply is July 13, and winners will be announced in August 2007.

"Overcoming the effects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, rather than letting it control you, can be an extremely difficult task. Students who demonstrate an ability to accomplish this exceptional feat deserve to be recognized and rewarded and we're delighted that UCB Pharma Canada will be doing just that," says Randy Sabourin, National President of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC).

Anne Dooley, President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), and a member of the rheumatoid arthritis scholarship selection committee adds, "The

UCBeyond Scholarship Program will definitely make a difference in the lives of those living with rheumatoid arthritis, not only by providing assistance to pursue educational goals but also by motivating people to ultimately go beyond the boundaries of their disease."

Other proud supporters of the UCBeyond Scholarship Programs include: The Arthritis Society (TAS), the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) and the Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (CSGNA).

About Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic and debilitating inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting more than 170,000 people in Canada. The onset of Crohn's disease often occurs between the ages of 15-25 and 45-55. As Crohn's disease is a chronic ailment, people go through unpredictable periods in which the disease flares and causes symptoms. These episodes are followed by times of remission -- periods in which symptoms disappear or decrease and good health returns. Canada has one of the highest incidence and prevalence of Crohn's disease in the world.

About Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease which causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that 320,000 (1 in 100) people suffer from RA in Canada.3 Prevalence is not split evenly between genders, since women are three times more likely to be affected than men.4

Although it can affect people of all ages, the onset of RA usually occurs between 25-50 years.5 Symptoms of RA may include joint stiffness, joint pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in mobility. These symptoms can be intermittent and vary in severity from patient to patient. In more severe cases RA 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.6

About UCB

UCB ( is a leading global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products in the fields of central nervous system disorders, allergy/respiratory diseases, immune and inflammatory disorders and oncology. Employing over 8,400 people in 40 countries, UCB focuses on securing a leading position in severe disease categories.

About UCB Pharma Canada

UCB Pharma Canada was officially incorporated in November, 2006 with the objective of bringing a new-generation, convenient therapy to the Canadian market for auto-immune, inflammatory diseases. A truly patient-focused organization, UCB Pharma Canada's focus is bringing new and innovative programs to patients, and the specialists who treat them, to help improve the lives of people living with severe diseases.