2017 was marked by creating 410 new jobs, developing 17 new key medicines, starting the largest Novartis investment in Slovenia, and increasing our production volume

24. 1. 2018

2017 was marked by Lek’s successful operations. Based on their knowledge and experience, Lek accomplished their mission to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives by pioneering new approaches to help people around the world access high-quality healthcare.

Highlights and milestones of Lek’s operations in 2017: 

  • The positive employment trend continues. In 2017, Lek hired 410 full-time employees. At the end of 2017, Lek had over 3,880 full-time employees. Forty-seven percent of them hold a university degree, and over 480 of those hold master’s or doctoral degrees. Over the last six years, the company has created more than 1,800 jobs. In 2017, Lek continued pursuing its innovative HR practice, including the seventh Regional BioCamp, and the Novartis Career Breakfast. The latter was organized for the second time as a successful innovative HR initiative to retain and return Slovene talents studying or working abroad. 
  • In addition, 2017 was marked by a change in leadership at Lek. Zvone Bogdanovski succeeded Vojmir Urlep in the position of President of the Lek Board of Management and Novartis Country President. The Supervisory Board of Lek appointed new Management Board members with a five-year term of office: Daniel Michalek, Head of Finance; Samo Roš, Head of HR; Ksenija Butenko Černe, Head of Legal; Andrej Pardo, Head of Commercial Operations; and MSc Marjan Novak, Workers’ Director.
  • Strong Development Activities Momentum – In 2017, the Development Center Slovenia completed the development and filed 17 drug products dossiers in the USA, EU, Russia, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and China, and three dossiers for active pharmaceutical ingredients in the demanding US market and Canada. Sandoz successfully launched 18 medicines that were developed at the Development Center Slovenia in the USA, EU, Canadian, Mexican, Japanese, Australian, and Brazilian markets. Among those, the medicines for the treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases stand out as the most important. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for review and confirmed the so-called “first-to-file” status for six medicine dossiers for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.
  • Slovenia remains one of the leading Sandoz sites for introducing new medicines to global markets; more than 15 new molecules and more than 975 new medicines, respectively, were launched to 90 markets around the world.
  • Lek Continues the Investment Momentum – In 2017, Novartis invested approximately EUR 170 million. Since 2003, Novartis invested more than EUR 2 billion of which more than EUR 1.1 billion was allocated to development investments, while the remaining funds were allocated to upgrade and broaden Lek's production capacities. 
    In April, the foundation stone for the new production plant for a broad-spectrum antibiotic Amoksiklav, one of Lek’s most important products and Sandoz’s best-selling products, was laid at the Prevalje site. The total investment value will amount to EUR 105 million and create about 140 new jobs by 2020, when the investment is due to be completed.
  • Increased production capacities  In 2017, total production capacity growth was accomplished. The medicines manufactured in Slovenia are marketed around the globe through the broad Sandoz and Novartis sales network. Certain key medicines also contain active pharmaceutical ingredients, which are the result of Lek’s own development and production.
  • Retaining Lek's position as the leading supplier of medicines in the Slovenian market – In 2017, Lek consolidated its position as the second largest supplier of generic medicines in Slovenia. With a 27.8% market share growth, we have consolidated our market-leading position in over-the-counter medicines. Together with other Novartis Divisions, Lek retains its position as the leading supplier of medicines in the Slovenian market. The organization of numerous expert meetings in Slovenia was attended by almost 2,000 health care professionals, which contributed to the improved healthcare of patients. 
  • Maintaining high-quality standards – Various activities and trainings were organized in 2017 to evolve our quality culture, which is already at a high level and is continuously being upgraded and improved. This is how Lek follows new requirements, such as Data Compliance, and embeds those into the company’s Quality System. Many successfully passed corporate and international audits, which further confirms Lek’s commitment to quality and high standards. Lek is particularly proud of successfully passing three flawless FDA inspections in 2017, which were conducted in Ljubljana, Mengeš, and Prevalje. 
  • We continue to protect the environment – In 2017, Lek continued with its efforts to prevent and reduce the environmental effects of its activities, and certified the environmental management system in accordance with the required ISO 14001:2015 standards, ES 1221/2009 regulations (EMAS), and occupational health and safety management systems in accordance with OHSAS 18001:2007 standards. In November 2017, Lek successfully met the requirements of EMAS (2017 version) following-up with the 14001:2015 standard in stressing the environmental impacts of the total product life cycle. In addition, Lek met all requirements to extend the certification in compliance with the Responsible Care Initiative (RCI) for the chemical industry.
  • Over 300 associates from across Novartis sites in Slovenia (Ljubljana, Mengeš, Lendava, and Prevalje) joined the initiative organized by the Slovenian Lymphoma and Leukemia Patient Association by registering at the National Potential Haematopoietic Stem cells Donor Registry, resulting in the Slovene Registry growing to exceed 3,000 donors. 
  • By signing the Slovenia Diversity Charter, Lek has joined more than 7,600 organizations across Europe that understand the positive impact of diversity management. 
  • 600 associates from Novartis sites in Ljubljana, Mengeš, Lendava, and Prevalje participated in more than 20 volunteer activities, dedicating their time to helping and spending time with more than 700 people. During the last 13 years of volunteering, Novartis associates in Slovenia in partnership with the local community have dedicated more than 36,000 working hours and have helped more than 12,000 people. 
  • Lek received many awards and prizes  In 2017, Lek and its employees received a number of awards and acknowledgements: 
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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz, operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2 billion since 2003. More than half of this investment has been devoted to development, and the rest to modernize and expand our production capacities.

Sandoz is a global leader in generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals. As a division of the Novartis Group, our purpose is to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. We contribute to society’s ability to support growing healthcare needs by pioneering novel approaches to help people around the world access high-quality medicine. Our portfolio of approximately 1000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2016 sales of USD 10.1 billion. In 2016, our products reached more than 500 million patients and we aspire to reach one billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.
Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Sandoz_global at http://twitter.com/Sandoz_Global (link is external).

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, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 121,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 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 additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications 
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32