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Johanna Ivaska has been appointed Head & Vice President of Oncology Research in Orion Corporation


Johanna Ivaska (born 1972), Academy Professor of Biochemistry has been appointed Head & Vice President of Oncology Research in Orion Corporation as of 1 October 2018.  Ivaska  joins Orion from the University of Turku and will continue working also there with her internationally recognised research team.

In the role of  Head & Vice President of Oncology Research in Orion R&D Johanna Ivaska will have all oncology discovery directly reporting to her. In addition, she will act as the Director of Orion Research Center for Biotechnology and Translational Research in Turku. Johanna Ivaska will report to Vice President, R&D Global Head, Therapy Area Oncology, professor Heikki Joensuu.

Ivaska is an internationally distinguished researcher specialising in the role of cellular changes in metastatic development in cancer. The innovative approach of her research will provide significant new data on the migration and traffic of cancer cells in tissue. Ivaska's research is anticipated to lead to scientific breakthroughs in biomedicine, a very topical field of research today. Twice during her career, Ivaska has received research funding awarded by European Research Council (ERC), which is among the most notable grants in the world and highly competed. Ivaska and her academic research team are also the recipients of many scientific awards including most recently the Medix prize 2018 for the best scientific publication in medicine in Finland and in 2017 the prestigious A.I. Virtanen prize for internationally recognized excellence in research.

Professor  Heikki Joensuu, M.D., Ph.D., R&D Global Head, Therapy Area Oncology in Orion says:
"I warmly welcome Johanna Ivaska to the Orion Oncology team. Johanna Ivaska has an outstanding career in science, and she is a widely recognized scholar internationally. In particular, she has an exceptional ability to be creative in her science, which skill is highly appreciated when developing novel drugs for serious diseases, such as cancer. Oncology is one of Orion's main focus areas in the pharmaceutical  Research and Development. Johanna Ivaska will have an important role in shaping the aims and structure of Orion Oncology. We feel privileged in hiring Johanna Ivaska."

Johanna Ivaska, Academy Professor of Biochemistry says:
I am excited to extend the co-operation with Orion Corporation. As a scientist, I have been passionately tackling biomedical research questions for over 20 years. Every new drug is based on curiosity driven fundamental research. However, drug development requires resources and know-how beyond academia. With my new appointment, I will have the opportunity to contribute to the other end of the process, the pharmacological therapy.

Kalervo Väänänen, rector of  the University of Turku says:
The University of Turku has identified drug development and diagnostics as its particular strengths when it comes to research. While the fundamental discoveries that lead to new drugs are often made at universities, the further development of innovations always requires co-operation with private companies. For the University of Turku, Professor Ivaska's partial transfer to Orion will be a model for developing co-operation with the private sector in the future.

Jyrki Heino, Professor, Scientific Director of BioCity Turku:
Founded nearly 30 years ago, BioCity Turku has always sought to systematically activate co-operation between researchers in the life sciences sector and the private sector. Professor Ivaska is one of Finland's most influential oncology biologists and her work as a bridge builder between academia and private companies will promote the development of discoveries made in basic research into registered drugs.

Picture of Johanna Ivaska:

Contact person:
Christer Nordstedt, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Orion Corporation
Tel. +358 50 966 2099, christer.nordstedt

Media contacts:
Terhi Ormio, Vice President, Communications, Orion Corporation
Tel. + 358 50 966 4646,

Orion Corporation
Orionintie 1A, FI-02200 Espoo, Finland

About Orion
Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The company is continuously developing new drugs and treatment methods. The core therapy areas of Orion's pharmaceutical R&D are central nervous system (CNS) disorders, oncology and respiratory diseases for which Orion develops inhaled Easyhaler® pulmonary drugs. Orion's adjusted net sales in 2017 amounted to EUR 1,034 million and the company had about 3,200 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.