Top prize for Lek innovators

16. 6. 2005

The Ljubljana Regional Chamber of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia awarded the top prize certificate for an innovation entitled “Development of an original technological process for pellet production” to Lek, a new Sandoz company and the authors of the paper Bojan Kofler, Barbara Rebič, Judita Širca, Dr. Peter Venturini, Nataša Hafner Milač and Dr. Anton Čopar.

The subject of the innovation is a technology for manufacturing pellets, a pharmaceutical form which has not yet been produced by anyone in Slovenia. It is a highly demanding technology which involves the use of omeprazole, which is very sensitive to humidity and acidic media.

Omeprazole is the first generic drug to be launched in pellet form with controlled release, and is used in the treatment of digestive disorders, especially ulcers of the doudenum and the stomach.

Lek’s innovators have developed a technology which allows the safe passage of the acid-sensitive active pharmaceutical ingredient omeprazole through the stomach and enables it to be released quickly in the small intestine.

The new technology has allowed Lek to develop a new pharmaceutical form which is produced in a new, purpose-built plant, the first of its kind in Slovenia. The technological process is completely ecologically safe and does not allow the possibility of releasing solvents into the environment.

Within Sandoz, Lek operates as a development center for pharmaceutical formulations, active pharmaceutical ingredients and biopharmaceuticals. Lek d.d.‘s investments in research and development activities amounted to SIT 13 billion, which is 10.2% of sales and which is higher than comparable generics companies in the region.

With a broad range of knowledge of all pharmaceutical technologies, we have developed numerous final dosage forms. Our wide-ranging palette of technologies, experience and knowledge allows our products to be competitive on the global pharmaceuticals market. We develop generic drugs on the basis of numerous ideas and original solutions, as well as innovative technologies for delivering of existing and new active pharmaceutical ingredients. In addition to intensive investment in the development of pharmaceutical technologies, we also invest in the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biopharmaceuticals. In these areas as well, our work is connected with a high level of innovativeness and the introduction of totally new technologies both at Lek and in Slovenia. We achieve our common objectives through the operation of multidisciplinary teams made up of professionals in the fields of biology, biochemistry, pharmacy and chemistry.

On receiving the award for Lek’s innovators, Dr. Brina Ornik, Head of Research and Development at Lek and the leader of the Omeprazole project said: “Innovation in the area of pharmaceutical technology and related fields is the foundation for the production of patient-friendly medicines. Innovative solutions are also necessary because we want to be able to offer generic drugs to patients immediately after the expiration of patent protection, thereby replacing the costly innovator version, while expressly respecting all intellectual property rights. Already in 2003 the Lek development center established itself as one of the most important development centers for the development of global products in the Sandoz Group. The number of Lek development projects has doubled in just over two years of integration, which also indicates that the level of professionalism of Lek associates is recognized at Sandoz.”


Lek, a new Sandoz company, is an international pharmaceutical company which operates as a business center on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe and the CIS region, and also markets its products successfully on the US market, in the EU and elsewhere around the world. Lek creates value through the development, manufacturing and sales of pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceutical ingredients and biopharmaceutical products. Lek employs about 4,186 people in various regions and achieved total sales of USD 746.5 million in 2004. For further information please consult

Sandoz, a Novartis company, is a leading global supplier of high-quality generic pharmaceuticals. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, Sandoz is a Retail Generics company operating also two Business Units with specific strategic focus – Industrial Products and Biopharmaceuticals. In 2004, Sandoz achieved sales of USD 3.045 billion, employs about 13,400 people and operate in over 120 countries around the world.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health. In 2004, the Group’s business achieved sales of USD 28.2 billion and a net income of USD 5.8 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 4.2 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 81,400 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For further information, please consult

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 further information contact:

Špela Jurak
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43
Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32