Commencement of construction in Lendava: The largest investment in Lek's history in line with plans

  • The first stage of construction under the largest foreign direct investment in Slovenia and one of the highest ever in the Slovenian economy was symbolically launched in the presence of Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Robert Golob, Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Slovenia, Gabriele Schreier, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, Chief Executive Officer of Sandoz, Richard Saynor and President of the Lek Board of Management Robert Ljoljo.
  • The high-tech biopharmaceutical production center in Lendava, worth at least USD 400 million, is of strategic importance for the further growth of an independent Sandoz, whose Vision is to be the world’s leading and most valued generics and biosimilars company.
  • The plan is to establish Europe’s most efficient production of drug substance for biologics in Lendava, which will further strengthen Slovenia's role in this emerging pharmaceutical field.
12. 12. 2023

The first stage of the construction of Lek's new high-tech biopharmaceutical production center was launched today in Lendava with the assembly of a DNA double helix to commemorate the70th anniversary of its discovery, which laid the foundations for the development of biologics and biosimilars.

The first of three facilities to be built on the site of Lek's current location in Lendava will be used to generate energy products for the existing production, as well as meet the needs of the future center for the production of drug substance for biosimilars. The center will also include state-of-the-art facilities for production and storage. Their combined surface area will amount to 40,000 m2. The center is expected to be operational by the end of 2026.

Biosimilars generate savings and increase the sustainability of healthcare systems. Biopharmaceutical production is demanding and requires the strictest levels of purity, while at the same time has a low environmental impact. The design of the center incorporates the best available technology to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources.

The aim is to also establish Europe’s most efficient production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for biologics in Lendava. This will bolster Sandoz's ambition to expand the share of biosimilars in its portfolio and respond to the growing need for biosimilar treatments, which are inaccessible to hundreds of thousands of patients in Europe alone[1].  With the creation of 330 new jobs, the region of Pomurje will help shape the  cutting-edge of pharmaceuticals. The acquisition will foster cross-sectoral  collaboration and contribute to strengthening the development of the Eastern  Slovenia cohesion region.  

At today's ceremony, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, PhD said »I am grateful to Sandoz for recognizing Slovenia as its key point of development, on which it will build its future. I believe that it is a very nice symbiosis between Sandoz and Slovenia, and I believe that together we will be able to use this symbiosis for the benefit of both. Slovenia, Prekmurje, Lendava as well as Sandoz and the global drug market. In the field of biopharmaceuticals, we have already succeeded in becoming a little Switzerland in Slovenia. By investing in science and development, we enable similar little Switzerlands to happen in other areas as well. Through science and development, we can create high-tech jobs, supported by the knowledge of our people, which will be recognized all over the world and because of which capital from all over the world will flow into Slovenia. And of course, in the end, we will all have more of it, both the local environment and the country. And this is the path we will walk on.«

The Chief Executive Officer of Sandoz, Richard  Saynor, highlighted: »The investment in Lendava builds on the advantages of Lek's established presence in the country. It strengthens the region's development potential – particularly given its proximity to our existing production and commercial operations.  Our new Production Center for Biosimilars in Lendava will further bolster our manufacturing capabilities and support our ambition to drive the future growth of our global biosimilar portfolio. The new facility and the option for further investment and expansion of production, represent a real signal of Sandoz’s intent.«

Robert Ljoljo, President of the Lek Board of Management, expressed his gratitude for the government’s support so far and stressed the investment’s development potential: “The investment in Lendava will allow Slovenia and Sandoz to strengthen their role in affordable treatment of diseases that cannot be treated with conventional medicines. The first team of 35 expert associates is already hard at work. Gradually the team will be joined by highly qualified staff from various fields, including pharmaceuticals, chemistry, biochemistry, IT and process automation. Lek’s title of most reputable employer gives us a responsibility to retain the best talents on home soil.”

Once fully operational, the Lendava site will be crucial for the production of drug substance for Sandoz's biosimilars for the treatment of patients in the fields of rheumatology, oncology and immunology.

Did you know?

  • Lek Lendava, which is currently comprised of two units, has 775 full-time employees, more than 30% of whom are from the municipality of Lendava and more than 85% from the Pomurje region. Anti-infectives Lendava produces the active ingredient of Sandoz's best-selling broad-spectrum antibiotic. Solids Lendava is the largest solid pharmaceutical packaging plant in Sandoz.
  • The need for targeted therapies for diseases that cannot be treated by conventional medicines exists primarily in the fields of immunology, oncology, rheumatology and endocrinology.
  • Biosimilars have generated more than EUR 30 billion savings in total for European healthcare systems since their introduction in 2006 and are playing a key role in overcoming inequalities in access to treatment worldwide by 2022.
  • Global demand for biosimilars is growing rapidly. By 2030, patents will expire on around 120 biologics. It is projected that the biosimilars market will grow from EUR 29 billion in 2022 to EUR 111 billion by 2031.
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About Lek
Lek, a Sandoz company, is the first and oldest pharmaceutical company in Slovenia, developing, manufacturing and marketing effective, safe and high-quality generics and biosimilars for patients around the world. Our work is guided by strong ethical standards, innovative thinking and the breakthrough achievements of our world-class professionals. With more than3,700 associates, we have been actively shaping the Slovenian, European and global research and development landscape for decades. We are building a culture of open dialog, and we proudly and responsibly hold the title of most reputable employer in Slovenia. 

About Sandoz
Sandoz (SIX: SDZ; OTCQX: SDZNY) is the global leader in generic and biosimilar medicines, with a growth strategy driven by its Purpose: pioneering access for patients. 22,000 people of more than 100 nationalities work together to bring Sandoz medicines to some 500 million patients worldwide, generating substantial global healthcare savings and an even larger total social impact. Its leading portfolio of more than 1500 products addresses diseases from the common cold to cancer. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Sandoz traces its heritage back to the year 1886. Its history of breakthroughs includes Calcium Sandoz in1929, the world’s first oral penicillin in 1951, and the world’s first biosimilarin 2006. In 2022, Sandoz achieved sales of USD 9.1 billion and core EBITDA of USD 1.9 billion.

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This Media Release contains forward-looking statements, which offer no guarantee with regard to future performance. These statements are made on the basis of management’s views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance at the time the statements are made. They are subject to risks and uncertainties including, but not confined to, future global economic conditions, exchange rates, legal provisions, market conditions, activities by competitors and other factors outside of the control of Sandoz. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially from those forecasted or expected. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of the particular statement, and Sandoz undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

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