Lek is the recipient of the highest national awards for innovation

  • Lek, a Novartis company, has  received the gold and silver national award for innovative achievements, which  are awarded by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. 
  • The company received the gold  national award for the development of a generic version of ferumoxytol, used to  treat anemia, and the silver national award for the breakthrough approach to  the development of biosimilars.
  • Lek's experts have been the  recipients of a total of 13 gold awards in the 20 years since the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia started giving national awards for innovation. 
21. 9. 2022

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia awards the best innovations in our country during Innovation Day, which took place yesterday at Brdo pri Kranju. Lek was selected to receive the gold and silver award from the 45 best innovations at the national level.

“Lek’s researchers have been considered the leading innovators in Slovenia for quite some time, as attested by many prestigious awards in which they can take pride. Both awarded innovations were developed with the mission of greater accessibility of high-quality medicines across the globe, which is the very core of our work. This is confirmation and proof that Slovenia has the knowledge, experience and technology for the most advanced pharmaceutical products. We are proud that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia recognized our contribution to Slovenian innovation,” said Robert Ljoljo, President of the Board of Management of Lek and Novartis Country President  Slovenia.

The innovation that received the gold award, the development of a generic version of ferumoxytol, is the result of years of effort invested by the employees at the Development Center Slovenia in the development of our own active pharmaceutical ingredient and final dosage form. “This innovation represents an important step in the field of anemia treatment, as it enables better accessibility of the state-of-the-art nanotechnology medicine to a wider range of patients. Until now, only the originator medicine has been available to patients, and its high price made it less affordable,” explained Dr Zdenko Časar, Head of Early Stage Development at Development Center Slovenia. Lek has already launched the drug, which is fully developed and manufactured in Slovenia, in the US market, one of the most demanding markets. “Lek is the first and so far the only company to have successfully developed a generic version of ferumoxytol, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2021”, added Dr Lidija Vraničar Savanovič, head of this  project at the Development Center Slovenia.

The silver national 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. 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 innovation is a result of the successful collaboration of Lek’s experts with researchers from the National Institute of Chemistry, the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana, and the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Ljubljana. In the search for high-quality solutions, Lek often collaborates with academic institutions in the search for high-quality solutions and develops breakthrough innovations in open innovation mixed research teams.

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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 theNovartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis BusinessServices, 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 3billion 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 for2021 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 product
s 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 140nationalities 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