CEO's review

Published on 28 April 2022

Nubeqa spearheads Orion’s growth - war and ever more stressed supply chains causing concerns

“The year 2022 for Orion has started with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we have had positive news flow from darolutamide and the overall business has developed well. At the same time, however, the war in Ukraine has caused a great deal of concern and our thoughts are with our employees in Ukraine and everyone suffering from this situation. Also, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are not over yet. Global supply chains remain under high stress and cost inflation has accelerated faster than anticipated. For Orion, the increase in costs is particularly challenging, as raising the prices of prescription medicines for human use in Orion’s markets is often not an option. We remain committed to looking after the health and safety of our employees, ensuring production continuity and product availability, and safeguarding patient safety in ongoing clinical trials.

Orion’s net sales in January-March 2022 grew by one per cent from the comparative period and the operating profit was slightly lower than in the comparative period. The sales of Dexdor® and Simdax® declined clearly as expected but, thanks to the strong sales development of Nubeqa® and Easyhaler® portfolio, net sales of the Proprietary Products unit increased slightly. Nubeqa® sales were further boosted by large product deliveries to our partner Bayer. These shipments can and will cause quarterly volatility to total Nubeqa® revenues booked by Orion. Net sales of the Specialty Products unit also increased slightly, due to for example strong sales of self-care products in Finland. Sales of the Animal Health unit declined due to the timing of deliveries to partners and also because of the termination of one distribution agreement in Finland. Fermion and Contract Manufacturing performed according to expectations in the first three months of the year.

In February 2022, detailed positive results from the Phase III ARASENS study with darolutamide were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and at the 2022 ASCO GU Cancers Symposium. Orion’s collaboration partner Bayer also upgraded its estimate on darolutamide’s peak sales potential. In March, we published our plans to change and refocus the strategy of Orion’s R&D function and started negotiations in accordance with the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings. Orion plans for R&D to focus on cancer and pain in future. The search continues for partners for the ODM-208 molecule and the digital therapy software solution for treating chronic pain.

We remain dedicated to our 2025 growth target and as part of that journey continue our efforts to find new cooperation opportunities and product and business acquisition targets.

Finally, I would like to express my warmest congratulations to Liisa Hurme, who was appointed as Orion’s President and CEO as of 1 November 2022. I am convinced that Liisa, with her broad expertise and experience, is well placed to continue the work on Orion’s growth strategy that we have developed together as colleagues. Collaborating together, we will ensure that the upcoming CEO transition goes smoothly."