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Orion Pharma negotiates on selling selected assets of its infusion business

Orion Pharma announced in April that it is planning to reduce the number of its plants for pharmaceutical preparations from seven to four, thereby aiming at improved cost-efficiency at long term. At the same time Orion Pharma informed that it is critically considering the possibilities to continue manufacturing intravenous infusion products. These infusions and nutritional products are produced solely for the hospital market in Finland at the Oulu plant, northern Finland.

The sales of the assets would not include production facilities or machinery and equipment. Neither personnel issues would be included in the agreement. Possible solutions are being sought in negotiations ongoing with the personnel at the Oulu plant. If the Letter of Intent leads to a final agreement, Orion Pharma and Baxter S.A. will secure that there is a continuous supply of products to the customers according to their purchase orders.

Baxter S.A., headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, is the subsidiary of Baxter International Inc., which is a global medical products and services company that provides critical therapies for people with life-threatening conditions. Baxter's products and services in medication delivery, bioscience (biopharmaceuticals and blood collection, separation and storage devices) and renal therapy are used by health-care providers and their patients in more than 100 countries. Baxter's consolidated net sales of 1999 were 6,4 billion US-dollars. Globally Baxter has approximately 40,000 employees and in Scandinavia about 180 employees with 30 employees in Finland mainly located at its Vantaa office.

Orion Pharma, a research-oriented pharmaceuticals division, is the core of the Orion Group, Finland's leading company for pharmaceuticals and related products. With 1999 net sales of FIM 2,603 million Orion Pharma accounts for almost one half of the Orion Group net sales and for two thirds of the Group operating profit. Over one half of the total net sales comes from international operations. With a broad portfolio of products, Orion Pharma is the leader in the pharmaceutical market in Finland with a 19% market share. Orion Pharma has subsidiaries in nine European countries. Orion Pharma has launched several new drugs based on its own research on its core therapy areas: central nervous system (CNS), menopausal disorders (HRT) and breast cancer, cardiology and critical care and respiratory diseases. R&D expenditure was 16,9% of the 1999 pharmaceutical net sales.

Original proprietary drugs account for an increasing share of Orion Pharma's sales. The CNS portfolio was recently supplemented by ComtessĂ’, also available as ComtanĂ’ (entacapone), Orion's own NCE for Parkinson's disease, now registered and launched in 35 countries including the EU and the U.S.