Lek receives three awards for innovation in the Central Slovenia region

  • Lek, a Novartis company, is once again among the recipients of the highest regional awards for innovative achievements presented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. Applicants from the Central Slovenia region received two gold and one silver awards. 
  • The gold regional award was given for a breakthrough approach to the development of biosimilars, enabling efficient, rapid and high-quality development that can make a key contribution to making these otherwise less accessible medicines more widely available and for the development of a generic version of ferumoxytol, used to treat anemia.
  • Novartis in Slovenia boasts an outstanding innovation ecosystem, fostering a culture of innovation and continuously investing in digital transformation, enabling innovation at the highest level.
23. 6. 2022

Lek, a Novartis company, is once again among the recipients of awards for the best innovations in the Central Slovenia region, presented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS). They have received three awards, two gold and one silver The gold-awarded projects are also among the candidates for the national selection of the best innovations.   

The gold regional award was awarded to an innovation for the development of cell lines for the production of biosimilars. It is a breakthrough approach to the development of biosimilars, involving the introduction of automated cell culturing and genetic engineering of production cell lines. The innovation enables efficient, rapid and high-quality development, resulting in savings in the production of biosimilars and enabling the development of therapeutics that could not have been developed before. "The intensive development phase lasted a year and a half and involved a team of Novartis in Slovenia associates and researchers from the Institute of Chemistry, the Faculty of Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana and the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Ljubljana. We expect the innovation to contribute to wider access to medicines and to radically improve quality of life," said Dr Rok Gaber, Scientific Advisor at Technical Research & Development Biologics Mengeš.

The gold regional award went also to an innovation for the development of a generic version of Ferumoxytol, used to treat anemia. Until now, only the originator medicine has been available to patients, and its high price made it less affordable. "Lek is the first and so far the only company to have successfully developed a generic version of ferumoxytol based on our own expertise, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2021. The drug, which is fully developed and manufactured in Slovenia, enables better accessibility of anaemia treatment with state-of-the-art nanotechnology medicines," said Dr Zdenko Časar, Head of Early Stage Development at Development Center Slovenia."This recognition is a significant confirmation of the many years of effort we at Development Center Slovenia have invested in the development of our own active pharmaceutical ingredient and final dosage form, and further proof that Slovenia has the knowledge, experience and technology for the most advanced and sophisticated pharmaceutical products," he added.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia also recognized the innovative IDEAL concept, developed by the staff of Development Centre Slovenia in cooperation with the Slovenian company, Axiologo.The silver regional award-winning innovation allows scientists to experiment and analyze in a virtual environment, reducing the need for real-time experimentation. The innovation is based on predictive data analytics and machine learning approaches."The development of the IDEAL prototype involved a broad, multidisciplinary team of associates from Development Center Slovenia and Axiologo. The new tool will speed up the development of new products in our development centers," said Boštjan Petek, Scientific Advisor at Development Center Slovenia. The innovation strengthens the position of Novartis in Slovenia as one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the field of digital transformation. 

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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek d.d., Novartis Pharma Services Inc. and Sandoz d.d., 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. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 3 billion since 2003.

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Our purpose is to pioneer access for patients by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical needs. Our ambition is to be the world’s leading and most valued generics company. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2021 sales of USD 9.6 billion.

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 nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 108,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at www.novartis.com.

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This press release contains statements and forecasts of future business operations. The forecasts include estimates based on all the information currently available to us. Should these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results of business operations could be different from those expected.

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For further information, please contact:
Gregor Makuc
Communication & External Engagement
Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.
Telephone: 01 580 22 43