In 2019, Novartis Slovenia significantly contributed to a successful global operation of the company through outstanding work in development, production and services

  • In 2019, Novartis Slovenia strengthened its role in the production of innovative medicines: since last year 10 additional innovative medicines, all together 26 in production in Slovenia.

  • Last year's launch of new biosimilars enables Slovenian patients the treatment with the largest range of seven biosimilars, thus contributing to greater accessibility to modern biological therapies.

  • In 2019, the company hired 496 full-time employees. At the end of the year, Novartis Slovenia had more than 4400 full-time employees. Among them 530 hold MA or a PhD and last year they received numerous awards and recognitions for their work.

  • In accordance with the Novartis strategy, the plan to change the role of Prevalje site was announced. Prevalje will transform from a production site into a part of the newly established Global Operations Center in Slovenia.

5. 2. 2020

In 2019, the company delivered strong results against the objectives set and supported the global Novartis strategy to become a leading global medicines company in all areas of operation. Through its outstanding performance in development, manufacturing and services, the company has significantly contributed to a successful global business, including its involvement in the production of two key Novartis innovative medicines that have been approved last year and target patients with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Last year, the company also developed and filed numerous drug product dossiers in the demanding foreign markets, launched important medicines on the Slovenian market and achieved an increase in the total production volume. With all its divisions, Novartis is the leading provider of medicines on the Slovenian pharmaceutical market, with the largest market share of 14.3%. The company remains the largest provider of generic OTC products in Slovenia with a market share of 26% and enables Slovenian patients to be treated with the largest range of seven biosimilars. Our key values – collaboration, agility and empowerment – allow outstanding Novartis experts to globally collaborate on a number of R&D projects, using new technologies, innovations and digitization. By doing so, they contribute to the success of the global company and help the long-term vision of Novartis.

By continuing the optimization and adjustment of our manufacturing network across Slovenia, they have been successfully implementing Novartis strategy of focusing on personalized, patient-friendly medicines in small quantities, high-value medicines and biosimilars. Pursuant to this strategy, they published a plan to transform Prevalje location from a production site into a part of the newly established Global Operations Center (GOC) in Slovenia. The main purpose of the GOC, which will be a part of Novartis Technical Operations and will be located at different sites in Slovenia, is to provide standardized, high quality services for the worldwide Novartis production network. The center will provide major global services, including: logistics and supply chain management, engineering, production technology and quality control.

Key business highlights of 2019:

  • In 2019, the Development Center Slovenia, a leading development center in Sandoz, completed the development and filed 21 drug product dossiers in the fields of anemia, oncology, rheumatology, anti-infectives, diabetes and potency disorders for medicines on the markets of Japan, Europe, USA , China, Canada, Brazil and Russia. Sandoz has successfully launched several products that have been developed in Slovenia, from the fields of anti-infectives in Canada and Europe, nasal spray for allergy treatment in Russia, cholesterol control drug in China and a medicine for the treatment of stomach diseases in the United States.

  • There are a number of projects underway at Biologics Technical Development Mengeš in the field of innovative biologics and biosimilars in various stages of development.

  • In 2019, total production output growth was achieved. Medicines manufactured in Slovenia are marketed worldwide through a wide Sandoz and Novartis sales network. Some key medicines also contain active substances that were developed and manufactured at our sites.

  • 813 new product launches were carried out in 88 markets worldwide, including the launch of innovative drugs from Slovenian locations.

  • Since 2003, Novartis invested more than EUR 2.5 billion in Slovenia, with more than half of that amount allocated to development investments, while the remaining funds were allocated to upgrade and broaden production capacities.

  • In September, the Development Center Slovenia opened new development laboratories, which will also be used to develop demanding solid and sterile dosage forms for treatment of oncological diseases. The EUR 7.5 million investment has further strengthened the importance of the development center within Sandoz.

  • In December, the Development Center Slovenia opened its first fully automated analytical laboratory. It is intended for fully automated preparation and analysis of finished product samples and is the largest laboratory of its kind in Novartis. With an investment of EUR 1 million dedicated to the Development Center Slovenia in Ljubljana, Novartis continues to invest in Slovenia.

  • At the end of 2019, Lendava site set up three new high-performance and technologically advanced packaging lines for blister packs and thus became the largest Novartis production site with a total of 26 lines for packaging solids of generic and innovative portfolio. The total investment into the site in 2019 exceeded EUR 10 million.

  • In 2019, the company hired 496 full-time employees. At the end of the year, Novartis Slovenia had more than 4400 full-time employees. Among them are 530 employees with a MA or a PhD. In the last 8 years, the company hired over 2700 employees. Last year, we continued to pursue innovative HR practices, such as Regional BioCampNovartis Career Breakfast and the first Novartis business career event, intended for those who wish to change their career path and become part of one of the best Slovenian and global employers.

  • In 2019, the work of Novartis employees in Slovenia received numerous awards and recognitions:

  • Lek has received the prestigious title of the most reputable employer. This title has been bestowed to Slovenian employers by the recruitment portal for nine consecutive years.

  • The highest Novartis Scientific Award – the      Distinguished Scientist Award – was received by Matej Horvat, PhD, Head of Predictive Analytics and Modelling at Biologics Technical Development Mengeš. The Leading Scientist Award was presented to researchers Ivana Gazić Smilović, PhD, Andrej Bastarda, and Damjan Šterk, PhD, from the Sandoz Development Center Slovenia.
  • Associates from the Sandoz Development Center Slovenia and Biologics Technical Development Mengeš have received nine Sandoz awards for research and development. Sandoz annually presents also the scientific excellence awards to their associates for long-term outstanding achievements in research and development. In 2019, both awards went to Slovenian scientists, Barbara Podobnik, PhD from the Biologics Technical Development Mengeš, and Biljana Janković, PhD from the Development Center Slovenia.
  • Lek was awarded two golden national awards for innovation by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Lek and its development partners (the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Pharmacy) received the TARAS award for the best collaborative project in industry for the project Artificial Stomach.

  • Vesna Stergar, PhD, from the Drug substance bioproduction Mengeš, and Dušan Teslić, PhD, from the Development Center Slovenia, have received the Prometheus in Science Award for Communication Excellency. Zlatko Pflaum, PhD, from Drug substance bioproduction Mengeš, received a special honorary title of the Star of the Slovenian Science Festival

  • Novartis consolidated its leading position in the Slovenian pharmaceutical market with a 14.3% market share, increasing it by 0.2 percentage points compared to the previous year.

  • In 2019, Lek increased its market share by 0.6 percentage points to 30.2 percent on the Slovenian generics pharmaceutical market.

    • Lek also maintained and consolidated its position as the second largest provider of prescription medicines with a market share of 24.1%, making it the leading provider of medicines for infections, iron deficiency and erectile dysfunction.

    • Lek additionally strengthened its leading position in the field of oncology with the new product Lenalidomid Sandoz.

    • Lek enables Slovenian patients to be treated with the largest range of seven biosimilars, thus contributing to greater accessibility to modern biological medicines as a leading provider of biosimilars.

    • It remains the largest provider of over-the-counter medicines in Slovenia with a market share of 26% in 2019.

  • Compared to the previous year, Novartis Pharmaceuticals achieved a 9.9% growth in sales, mainly based on key medicines in the fields of cardiology, dermatology, rheumatology and ophthalmology (Entresto, Cosentyx and Lucentis). In 2019, they have successfully introduced to the Slovenian market a new drug for the preventive treatment of migraine (Aimovig), which has been available to Slovenian patients by prescription since the beginning of this year. This year, they are actively preparing for new launches in the fields of neurology, ophthalmology and cardiology.

  • In 2019, Novartis Oncology exceeded its sales targets by 12% in sales volume. In June, they set a new milestone in collaboration with the University Medical Centre Ljubljana and the Slovenian Institute for Transfusion Medicine, enabling Slovenian patients to be among the first in the world to be treated for certain forms of blood cancer using a revolutionizing method that uses patient's own modified T lymphocytes (CAR-T or Kymriah). In addition, they provided Slovenian patients with free access to four new treatments for lung, breast and various types of blood cancer.

  • In 2019, Sandoz d.d. in Slovenia, which manages Sandoz export sales activities, provided access to high quality medicines for patients in more than 70 countries worldwide with a portfolio of more than 4400 products. Novartis globally recognized their quality management system as an excellent model, so they established a quality management center for export markets in Slovenia for Novartis's cross-divisonal support of all export markets (74 countries worldwide).

  • Novartis' responsible environmental business strategy with ambitious goals for 2025 and 2030 on climate neutrality, circular economy, plastic neutrality and sustainable water use, confirms our intensive efforts to prevent and reduce environmental impacts. In 2019, those goals were recognized by certified environmental verifiers by the requirements of ISO 14001: 2015 and ES122 / 2009 as amended (EMAS). Continuous improvements in the established system of management of occupational safety and health in accordance with ISO 45001: 2018 were also recognized.

  • In 2019, Lek successfully passed the most demanding inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at two locations (Ljubljana and Lendava). With these inspections and many other successfully completed national and international assesments, the company reaffirmed its awareness of the importance of maintaining high quality, as this is the only way to ensure the patients receive safe and effective treatments.

  • Social responsibility and networking with educational institutions is part of our daily work:

  • Last year was also marked by a change of management. Robert Ljoljo was appointed President of the Board of Management and Novartis Slovenia Country President, succeeding Zvone Bogdanovski after his retirement. The Supervisory Board of Lek appointed a new Board of Management for the period of five years, which now consists of: Ivan Ďurovčík, Head Finance, Ksenija Butenko Černe, Head Legal, Prof. Uroš Urleb, PhD, Global Head Technical Development Biosimilars at Novartis and Site Head Biologics Technical Development Mengeš, Raul Intriago Lombeida, Global Head Novartis Operations Centers for Novartis Technical Operations, Andrej Pardo, Cluster II Head Region Europe at Sandoz, and Marjan Novak, Worker’s Director.

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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz, operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Over the last eight years, the company has created more than 2,700 jobs, making us one of the biggest employers in Slovenia. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2.5 billion since 2003.

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Our purpose is to pioneer access to healthcare by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical need. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas and increasingly focused on value-adding differentiated medicines, accounted for 2019 sales of USD 9.7 billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.

Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @SandozGlobal at

About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109 thousand people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For additional information contact:

Katarina Klemenc

Corporate Communications

Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.

Phone: +386 1 580 22 43