On Lek Open House Day visitors tour Mengeš plant, the site of the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients and Lek's work in biopharmaceuticals – results of Lek emissions measurements in Mengeš indicate comprehensive management of environmental impacts

Lek Open House Day in Mengeš

26. 6. 2007

Mengeš, June 26, 2007 – Lek Open House Day was held today in Mengeš, attended by the mayors and representatives of the municipal councils and boards of management of the Municipality of Mengeš and surrounding municipalities, and residents of Mengeš and the nearby towns. Head of Manufacturing at Lek Mengeš Igor Boševski together with his associates spoke to the visitors about Lek’s operations and future in Mengeš and Lek’s role in the field of environmental protection and corporate citizenship. “At Lek in Mengeš we are closely connected with the local environment, and therefore we are pleased to hold events where we can meet with the local people and present our work, and at the same time listen to their opinions and suggestions for future cooperation,” said Mr. Boševski.

Lek currently employs around 550 people in Mengeš. Development and manufacturing at the location began fifty years ago. Today Lek in Mengeš is a Sandoz development and manufacturing center, responsible for highly demanding products for sale all over the world. “The goal of production of active pharmaceutical ingredients i.e. raw materials for final dosage forms is to become a key source of active pharmaceutical ingredients for Sandoz. Active pharmaceutical ingredients have a high level of added value and are relatively difficult to manufacture. Within Sandoz, the Mengeš plant is a center for selected high-value active pharmaceutical ingredients,” says Igor Boševski. At Lek in Mengeš, active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured using chemical organic synthesis and fermentation, and biotechnology drugs are manufactured using recombinant technology, while a smaller share of the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients is still based on plant extracts. Manufacturing of final products (Linex) was also started here a few years ago.

Biopharmaceuticals in Mengeš

In the last few years there has been an increased focus on biopharmaceuticals in Lek’s research and development. The biopharmaceuticals unit at Lek is responsible for the development, manufacturing and analysis of biological active pharmaceutical ingredients and products, and their successful marketing. Lek began in-house development of genetic technology in the 1980s and created the basis for the manufacturing of recombinant proteins, i.e. biological drugs for human use. The unit has the highest average level of education, primarily professionals in microbiology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry and pharmacy.

In February 2004 Lek in Mengeš opened the first manufacturing plant for recombinant technologies in Slovenia – PORT 1, and during last year’s celebration of Lek’s 60th anniversary an announcement was made of the beginning of construction of the Biopharmaceuticals Development Center, a facility with approx. 2800 m2 of total surface area. This new plant in Mengeš will form an important basis for Sandoz’s strategy in biopharmaceuticals, a field which will have an important effect on the future of the pharmaceuticals industry. “The development of biopharmaceuticals at Lek indirectly also has positive effects for the environment. The processes run in closed systems using biologically acceptable raw materials, so the impact on the environment is minimal. At the same time the development creates new jobs. In the past six years the number of employees in this field at Lek in Mengeš has risen from the original 7 to 107,” explained Dr. Andrej Francky, Head of Laboratory Development in Biopharmaceuticals.

Lek in Mengeš closely connected with the local environment

Lek pays a great deal of attention to environmental protection. In its mission Lek undertakes to provide for a clean environment and manufacturing in accordance with European environmental protection standards. On the basis of the current environmental policy and the ISO 14001 standard received for its environmental management system, Lek is realizing its mission through planned environmental management, implementation of environmental programs, regular monitoring and measuring of the environmental aspects of their operations and immediate response in the case of deviations. The basic condition for the carrying out of Lek’s activities – manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients and products and development – is caring for a healthy and safe living environment.

Lek’s efforts are directed towards constant improvement of the environmental aspects of operations, economic consumption of energy and raw materials, rational use of other natural resources and modern and efficient handling of waste in order not to burden the environment. “We engage in comprehensive management of environmental impacts. Among other things we have introduced closed systems for cleaning emissions using absolute filters, condensation and regeneration of organic solvents, thermal oxidation, washing gases and biological decomposition. We eliminate unpleasant odors using biofiltration, we have installed sound limiters, a three-channel sewage system, a safety valve on the outflow into the Pšata, catchment basins underneath the warehouses and manufacturing plants, and we have begun biological treatment of wastewater at the municipal treatment plant and have a closed circuit of fresh water,” said Igor Boševski.

Marjanca Zornik, an environmental protection consultant at the company Formica d.o.o. with the status of environmental expert, who works for Lek as an external professional, presented the results of the most recent measurements of Lek’s emissions into the environment, which indicated that Lek is far below the allowable emission limits in all areas. “Lek’s operations impact the environment, as all of us living beings do, but with the environmental protection measures they have introduced these impacts are managed successfully and Lek is therefore not an environmental polluter,” says Mrs. Zornik.

As a pharmaceutical company which cares for the long-term improvement and maintenance of the quality of health and life, Lek operates in the humanitarian and healthcare fields, pays special attention to children and provides assistance in the areas of sports, culture, education and science. Lek’s wide-ranging engagement in the social environment has a common thread, which is a high level of responsibility for children and youth, for whom Lek endeavors to improve their present and future. Lek also has close connections with the surroundings in Mengeš and tries to help the local community to the best of its ability. It supports the Rudolf Maister Educational Center and the Mengeš Elementary School, cultural associations (Mengeš Brass Band, Freedom Mengeš) and the Kamnik Disabled Persons Training Institute. It also supports all of the volunteer fire departments in the area (Krašnja, Jarše Rodica, Šinkov turn, Rova, Mengeš, Lahovče), the operations of the local communities within the municipality (Preserje, Jarše Rodica), the Mengeš Ski and Ski-Jumping Club (funds for construction of a 30-meter ski jump), the Radomlje Tourist Association (Green Initiative project – landscaping of Škrjančevo recreational area), and the Peter Pavel Glavar Foundation.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets. Lek d.d. employs about 2,820 people and achieved total sales of USD 904 million in 2006. For further information please consult http://www.lek.si

Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 840 active substances in over 5 000 forms worldwide. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these drugs along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to the strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (U.S.) and sells its products in more than 110 countries. In 2006, Sandoz employed around 21,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 6 billion.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in both patented and generic pharmaceuticals. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics and leading self-medication OTC brands. In 2006, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

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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 further information contact:

Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški

Corporate Communications

Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43

Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32