Slovenian pharma company Lek, a part of the Swiss multinational Novartis, has launched a new centre for the production of active substances for innovative medicines in Mengeš near Ljubljana. The EUR 28m investment is the biggest single investment by Novartis in Slovenia so far.
The plant, which will produce active substances mainly for medicines used in oncology, is one of the seven locations in the world where Novartis produces its active substances. So far, Lek only produced generic active substance and medicines.
The opening ceremony was addressed by Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who said he was happy that the company established 70 years ago continued to be successful.
Today’s event proves that Slovenia has innovative people, a lot of know-how and that projects in Slovenia could be carried out quickly and efficiently, he added.
Lek chairman Vojmir Urlep said that the launch of the new plant was a turning point, not only for Lek and Novartis, but also for the local community, while Juan Andres of Novartis added that it was an important milestone for further development of Lek’s Mengeš location.
Andres noted that Novartis, which bought Lek in 2002, had invested in Lek around EUR 1.7bn by the end of 2015, of which half went for the modernisation and expansion of production capacities.
Around EUR 200m has been invested in the Mengeš location alone, including EUR 120m in the production of active substances, he added.
The construction of the facility started in the autumn of 2013, while first commercial active substances for innovative medicines were produced at the beginning of 2016. The facility will employ 20 people.
This is the latest investment by Lek, the previous one coming in September 2015, when the company opened a EUR 24m extension to its packaging centre in Lendava in what was until then Novartis’s biggest investment in Slovenia.