Researchers from Lek, a Sandoz company, receive Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gold Innovation Award

  • Sandoz researchers from Slovenia the first in the world to discover a catalytic system for asymmetric borylation of organic compounds in water medium
  • Innovation that opens a new perspective to more environmentally friendly and sustainable methodologies in organic chemistry, already successfully protected in two international patent applications
  • Lek, a Sandoz company, for many years one of the most innovative companies in Slovenia
17. 9. 2013

Dr Zdenko Časar, global Head of API Portfolio Management at Sandoz and Dr Gaj Stavber, researcher in the API development at Sandoz research center Slovenia, were awarded at today’s ceremony in Brdo pri Kranju on the occasion of the Innovation Day 2013, the Gold Innovation Award for the best innovation at the national level. This award for innovation has been presented for the 11th year running by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS).

Dr Zdenko Časar and Dr Gaj Stavber were the first in the world to discover a catalytic system for asymmetric borylation of organic compounds in water medium. The award was handed to the researchers by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor for the discovery and development of a considerably more efficient, economical and above all a more environmentally friendly catalytic system for asymmetric ß-borylation (introduction of a boron atom into molecules) of a wide range of organic molecules in water medium. By doing this they opened an entirely new perspective on greener and sustainable technologies in organic chemistry.

This technology can be very successfully applied in the key step of alternative sitagliptin synthesis, the active pharmaceutical ingredient for the treatment of type II diabetes, currently affecting more than 400 million people worldwide. Such sustainable innovations can therefore be an important contribution to the welfare of both the environment and society through more accessible and safer pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, which is also a part of Sandoz’ mission.

Dr Zdenko Časar and Dr Gaj Stavber, who were also presented with a golden award by the Chamber of Commerce for the Central Slovenian region, said upon receiving this important recognition: “This is the highest recognition for innovation that an innovator can receive at the national level and represents the acknowledgement of long-standing efforts and approach to solving scientific problems. At the same time it also proves that we can think differently, in an advanced, even visionary way. The award is certainly an excellent motivation for further work.”

The innovation of both scientists has already been successfully protected by two international patent applications and their findings were also published in a distinguished international scientific journal Applied Organometallic Chemistry. The visibility of the published results is already reflected in the citations by other distinguished international journals and leading experts in this field.

More information on CCIS awardees:

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of key pillars of the second-largest generic pharmaceutical company globally. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a leading 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, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis, is a global leader in the rapidly growing generics industry. Sandoz offers a broad range of about 1, 100 high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. With nearly 26,000 employees in approximately 140 countries, Sandoz holds the #1 position globally in biosimilars, injectables, ophthalmics and dermatology as well as a strong global #5 position in inhalables. 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), Oriel Therapeutics (US), and Fougera Pharmaceuticals (US). In 2012, Sandoz posted sales of USD 8.7 billion. For more information, please visit

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 128,000 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 additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32