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Orion Pharma Fermion takes new API plant into use

Orion Corporation Orion Pharma's Fermion plant extension for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) has been completed in Hanko, Finland. The extension will increase the production capacity of the plant by 40% and will secure the production and availability of Orion Pharma's proprietary drugs. Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen inaugurated the new plant today. The production will begin in June.

Fermion manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients. An increasing proportion of Fermion's production today consists of substances based on of Orion Pharma's own proprietary molecules. The new plant will specifically secure the production capacity of the active ingredients in Orion Pharma's own proprietary drugs. Fermion manufactures, for example, entacapone, the active ingredient in Orion Pharma's Parkinson's Disease drug (trade names Comtess ® and Comtan®). Fermion has altogether three high tech production plants in Finland: in Hanko and Oulu and a pilot plant in Espoo. The combined reactor capacity of the plants is 320m3. The manufacturing plants in Hanko are the largest ones.

The authorities of medicinal products in Finland, the EU and the USA have approved the operations of all the three plants. Fermion's process technology and systems fill the strictest technical requirements of the field. Besides authorities, customers audit and inspect the plants regularly.

Two goals set for the latest capacity extension are met: a significant improvement of the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) level and an increase of the production capacity by 40%. The total acquisition cost of the extension was FIM 108 million, and the plant was completed on schedule. Before the latest expansion, capacity at the Hanko plant was expanded four years ago. The total area of the new building is 5,400 m2. The end products will be manufactured in modern manufacturing facilities; each drug substance will be in its own closed department. The future requirements of pharmaceutical production will be fulfilled better than ever. In addition to the manufacturing facilities, also a new laboratory was built and the maintenance and office buildings as well as the warehouse were expanded. At the present, the Fermion employs 146 persons in Hanko.

Fermion in brief
Orion Corporation Fermion is a pharmaceutical unit that is part of Orion Pharma. Fermion develops, manufactures and sells active pharmaceutical ingredients for Orion Pharma and for other companies. Of the 25 pharmaceutical ingredients that belong to Fermion's production program, the biggest product in 2000 was entacapone, the active ingredient of the own proprietary drug for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. The other big products, although not proprietary, were azathioprine for treating rejection reactions, and buspirone for anxiety disorders. The most important markets outside Finland are the US and the EU. Fermion manufactures the active pharmaceutical ingredients of all drugs developed and sold by Orion Pharma. Fermion employs altogether about 330 persons and the net sales in 2000 were 65,3 million euros.

Fermion was established in 1970 in Espoo by Orion and Kemira. Operations at the Fermion pharmaceutical plant in Espoo began a year later. In Hanko a penicillin plant was completed in 1973 and a chemical plant in 1974. Penicillin production was later discontinued and operations were concentrated on the chemical plant. Orion acquired Fermion in 1981. Chemical production has been expanded gradually since 1982 and the capacity has multiplied.