It all began with Albin and woodfern
Albin Koponen, born in 1858, is regarded as the father of the Finnish pharmaceutical industry. After graduating as a qualified chemist, Koponen acquires a licence to establish a pharmacy in a small town in eastern Finland in 1894. However, he has already been developing a new method to extract filicine from woodfern. The efficacy of ferns in preventing tapeworms has been known in folk medicine for centuries. Koponen processes this tradition into the first industrially produced drug in Finland.
In 1899, Koponen moves to southern Finland and establishes Pharmaceutical Laboratory, the first pharmaceutical plant in Finland, under the auspices of the local pharmacy in Nurmijärvi. This marks the beginning of the large-scale production of worming medicines.
Koponen is not only a chemist and manufacturer, but also a talented inventor. All of the equipment and devices in the laboratory have been designed by him, and he even establishes a power plant for his factory. His worming medicines, also known as “Koponen’s capsules”, become a success, and their marketing also attracts interest abroad: worming medicines are exported as far as China and America. In addition, his factory manufactures around 20 other drugs.
In the early twentieth century, Koponen receives several awards for his work in pharmacology, both in Finland and abroad. A passionate researcher, he dies at his work in 1917 – the year when Orion is founded. His legacy becomes part of Orion in 1960, when Orion, the largest pharmaceutical plant in Finland, acquires Pharmaceutical Laboratory Alb. Koponen, the oldest pharmaceutical plant in the country.