Centers of excellence are matrix organizations of scientists from different areas

2. 7. 2010

As part of their tour of Centers of Excellence, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Gregor Golobič and Director of the Science Directorate Dr. Jana Kolar visited the EN→FIST Center of Excellence, which carries out research in the field of health and life sciences and advanced new materials. The visit was hosted by Lek, a Sandoz company, a founder of the Center of Excellence (CoE).

The EN→FIST Center of Excellence was founded in December 2009 as a new legal entity in order to focus on creating links between science and business. EN→FIST has 8 founders, including Slovenia’s top two producers of medicinal products, Lek and Krka. The goals of the center are to foster cooperation between the academia and companies, to develop and introduce effective methods and models of collaborating with companies, to disseminate new knowledge and ensure the flow of that knowledge into products and services, and establish conditions for the highest possible level of research support for companies in the area of activities of the centers of excellence.

“We see collaboration with partner companies on several levels. The first level is collaborating with the founders on projects defined in the CoE’s work program, where we have precisely defined concrete objectives. On the second level we see these projects as the basis for developing opportunities with the founders and other companies in new areas, which will be the result of synergies, new needs and circumstances,” explained Dr. Matjaž Polak, Director of the EN→FIST Center of Excellence.

“It is very encouraging that the Centers of excellence have already begun intensively implementing the planned activities and thus carrying out their linking role between the academic research and corporate sphere, which is extremely important for the development of the Slovenian economy and society. By visiting the Centers of Excellence the Ministry would like to get a deeper insight into their work and the issues they face, issues which we would like to help ease. The Center of Excellence which we have visited today is very specific in that it has a relatively small number of partners, which allows it to really focus on the activities that it carries out,” said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Gregor Golobič.

Lek, a Sandoz company, which hosted today’s meeting, is one of the largest R&D centers in Slovenia. Lek’s Development Center in Ljubljana is one of the key global development centers within Sandoz, carrying out about one fourth of all global development activities for the world’s second-largest generic pharmaceutical company. The number of development projects underway at Lek has grown steadily since 2002 – there are currently over 200 ongoing projects at the Development Center in various developmental stages. 471 associates work in research and development at Lek, of whom 113 hold doctorate degrees and 29 have Master’s of Science degrees.

Lek’s importance within Sandoz’s global R&D network is also indicated by the level of investments made by the owner. Novartis has invested around 900 million euros in Slovenia since 2003, nearly half of which was earmarked for investments in research and development.

16 projects currently underway

The EN→FIST Center of Excellence collaborates with its partners on projects in the pharmaceuticals industry, new materials and the development of new probes for solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The Center began work on the planned multi-disciplinary projects at the beginning of 2010, and currently employs 59 people.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a global development center for products and technologies; a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines; a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products; a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biosimilar products; and, a supply center for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), South East Europe (SEE) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and it is responsible for sales on the Slovenian market. For further information please visit

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 approximately 1000 compounds and sells its products in more than 130 countries. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these medicines along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany), Eon Labs (US), EBEWE Pharma (Austria) and Oriel Therapeutics (US). In 2009, Sandoz employed around 23,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 7.5 billion. For further information please visit

Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2009, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 44.3 billion, while approximately USD 7.5 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 100,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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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