The Slovenia Times

Sandoz plans US$90 million investment in Ljubljana

Investment & Real EstateScience & TechnologySpotlight
Novartis's development centre.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Generics producer Sandoz is planning to invest roughly US$90 million at its site in Ljubljana to establish a dedicated centre for development of biosimilars by 2026. As part of the process to spin off from Novartis, Sandoz holds part of the Slovenian pharmaceutical company Lek.

"With this investment, the Ljubljana site will become one of the key locations for biosimilar product development at Sandoz," the company announced on 20 July.

The new site will create around 200 new full-time jobs and further strengthen the company's capabilities in end-to-end drug substance and drug product development of biosimilars.

The news comes after Sandoz recently announced plans to invest at least US$400 million in a new biologics manufacturing plant in Lendava, north-eastern Slovenia.

The investment builds on existing small molecule product development capabilities in Ljubljana, where Sandoz has successfully established comprehensive capabilities to develop technologically complex generic pharmaceuticals.

"The new Biosimilar Development Center in Ljubljana will build on these capabilities, helping Sandoz to meet rapidly rising global demand for biosimilars and to make an even more meaningful contribution to the long-term viability of healthcare systems around the world," Claire D'Abreu Hayling, chief scientific officer at Sandoz, was quoted as saying.

Robert Ljoljo, Lek CEO and Sandoz president, believes that by choosing Ljubljana as a location to expand its biosimilars development capabilities Sandoz was sending out a strong message.

"Slovenia offers access to world-class pharmaceutical experts and an ecosystem of academic and research institutions that together contribute to Sandoz's ambition to develop high-quality biosimilars," he said.

Sandoz pointed out that Slovenian scientists are among the pioneers in biosimilars; three decades ago, Lek, in close cooperation with the National Institute of Chemistry, started working on recombinant technology, which is fundamental to biopharmaceuticals.

As part of a global process of the separation of generics manufacturer Sandoz from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, the legal process of separation of Lek was completed at the beginning of July.

Lek's activities related to the development and production of innovative medicines were transferred onto the newly established Slovenian company Novartis. As a result, Sandoz now covers generic and biosimilar medicines in Slovenia and Novartis covers innovative medicines.


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