Researchers from Lek, a Sandoz company, receive two Golden Innovation Awards by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Artificial stomach and artificial intestines – an important acquisition in the process of development and analysis of medicines.
  • Lek researchers – the first in the world to discover and develop a catalytic synthesis method for the preparation of key intermediate of the active ingredient for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lek, a Sandoz company, consolidates its position among the most innovative companies in Slovenia and broader.
16. 9. 2015

Researchers from Lek, a Sandoz company, received two golden awards bestowed by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the best innovation at the national level. The acknowledgements for the best innovators were presented by the president of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor at the Innovation Day 2015 held at Brdo pri Kranju, for the development of an artificial stomach and intestines for the analysis of the development of complex solid pharmaceutical forms and for the discovery and development of a catalytic synthesis method for the preparation of key intermediate of the active ingredient for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Artificial stomach and artificial intestines

Igor Legen, PhD, Sandra Berglez, Alenka Bevc and Uroš Klančar, PhD from Lek, a Sandoz company, and Prof. Janez Diaci, PhD and Lovro Kuščer, PhD from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Ljubljana have developed two technically demanding and completely new digestive tract simulators. The artificial stomach and artificial intestines enable simulations of the actual dimensions and peristaltic movements of the stomach and small intestines in humans and thus bring the replication of the human gastrointestinal tract closer. The simulators are an important acquisition in the process of medicine development and analysis. Similar devices which could simulate the gastrointestinal tract at a comparable level have not been identified therefore the team of scientists filed a patent application for their innovation.

»The gastrointestinal tract varies considerably among population groups; however the dissolving and absorption of active substances from pharmaceutical forms should be similar in all people in order for the medicine to be effective. From this aspect, the imitation of biological systems, as exact as possible, by using »in vitro« external devices is of the utmost importance. With a good imitation of biological systems it is also possible to better illustrate the actual behaviour of a medicine in the gastrointestinal tract after ingestion, which facilitates the course of development and reduces cost,« explained Uroš Klančar, the leading scientist at the Department for in vivo / in vitro correlations at the Sandoz Development center Slovenia.

New system of catalysis and synthesis of active ingredient for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Lek’s researchers Zdenko Časar, PhD and Tomaž Mesar MSc were the first in the world to discover and develop a simple, efficient, economic and environmentally friendly process based on the use of an organic catalyst that enters the key synthesis stage in the synthesis of cabergoline, the active ingredient for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, hyperprolactinemia and prolactinoma.

With this innovation, the scientists of Lek, a Sandoz company, open new insights into the entire chemistry of N-demethylation. This has also been confirmed by publication in a reputable international scientific journal Organic Process Research & Development. The presentation of the innovation attained high visibility immediately after its publication and was ranked among the most read articles in February 2015. It was especially highlighted by the American Chemistry Association in its online publication which summarizes the most innovative ideas from a broader range of literature in the field of chemistry.

»The key aspect and high value of the invention lies in the fact that we were the first in the world to discover a process that enables the application on an industrial scale and at the same time shortens reaction time, increases the yield of the product and significantly reduces the use of reagents and solvents. This contributes towards a more ecological and safer synthesis in comparison with those currently described in the literature,« explained Zdenko Časar, Head of prototype analysis at Sandoz development center Slovenia.

The information about the recipients of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Innovation Awards is available at:

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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 technologically demanding 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 Novartis, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals, driving sustainable access to high-quality healthcare. Sandoz employs more than 26,000 people worldwide and supplies a broad range of affordable products to patients and customers around the globe.
The Sandoz global portfolio comprises approximately 1,100 molecules, which accounted for 2014 sales of USD 9.6 billion. Sandoz holds the global #1 position in biosimilars as well as in generic anti-infectives, ophthalmics and transplantation medicines. Sandoz also holds leading global positions in key therapeutic areas ranging from generic injectables, dermatology and respiratory to cardiovascular, metabolism, central nervous system, pain and gastrointestinal.
Sandoz develops, produces and markets finished dosage form (FDF) medicines as well as intermediary products including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and biotechnological substances. Nearly half of the Sandoz portfolio is in differentiated products – medicines that are scientifically more difficult to develop and manufacture than standard generics.
In addition to strong organic growth since consolidating its generics businesses under the Sandoz brand name in 2003, Sandoz has consistently driven growth in selected geographies and differentiated product areas through a series of targeted acquisitions, including Hexal (Germany), EBEWE Pharma (Austria), and Fougera Pharmaceuticals (US).
Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Sandoz_global at

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 over-the-counter products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.0 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 130,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 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