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Orion Pharma to establish a new R&D Centre in Nottingham, England

Orion Pharma announced today that it has strengthened its pharmaceutical Research & Development (R&D) by establishing a new centre in Nottingham, England. R&D Nottingham is Orion Pharma's first R&D facility outside Finland. About 25 experienced pharmaceutical R&D professionals who previously worked for BASF Pharma have been recruited to work in the centre. Nottingham centre will also offer opportunities for researchers currently working in Orion Pharma's centres in Finland.
R&D Nottingham will focus on cardiovascular and neurological drug development. It will strategically complement Orion Pharma's current R&D staff of more than 850 people engaged in projects in these therapy areas in Espoo, Turku and Kuopio in Finland.
Orion Pharma's R&D capabilities and achievements are globally in the forefront in the chosen therapeutic areas. The latest products developed and brought to the market by Orion Pharma: Comtess®/Comtan® for Parkinson's Disease and Simdax® for acute heart failure are prime examples of Orion Pharma's strengths.
- Recruitment of experienced pharmaceutical development professionals has lately become a demanding challenge in Finland and has created a bottle neck for Orion Pharma's intentions to strengthen its resources. Establishing an R&D centre in Nottingham will also fortify our position as a leading European pharmaceutical company focusing on Heart Failure, says Dr. Jyrki Mattila, President of Orion Pharma.
- Also our CNS drug development and especially the development of Parkinson's Disease therapy will get a significant boost with this new venture. We are especially happy to be able to hire at once a group of professionals who have world class experience in demanding multinational development projects similar to those that Orion Pharma is currently engaged in.
R&D Nottingham will become an integral part of the existing R&D organisation. It will benefit from the most modern IT environment and excellent data and document management systems available at Orion Pharma's R&D headquarters located in Espoo, Finland.
The Orion Pharma R&D Nottingham centre will be headed by Dr. Raymond Bratty who has previously worked in several therapeutic areas, most recently for BASF Pharma as Head of CNS European Clinical Development. Dr. Bratty has also been nominated as Assistant Vice President, Cardiovascular Projects. In this role he will manage the whole of Orion Pharma's Clinical Development of Cardiovascular Projects. This will include the existing team in Espoo, Finland, which has been responsible for the development of Orion Pharma's new heart failure drug Simdax® (levosimendan). Dr. Bratty reports to Dr. Esa Heinonen, Senior Vice President, Preclinical and Clinical R&D.
Two experienced Pharmaceutical Physicians will head the two clinical groups in Nottingham. Cardiovascular Clinical Projects in Nottingham will be headed by Dr. Chris Garratt, Neurological Clinical Projects will be headed by Dr. Chris Reynolds. R&D Nottingham also employs specialists in R&D support functions (regulatory affairs, biostatistics, data management, quality assurance and project management), who participate in activities of Finnish R&D centres when needed.
- This is an important strategic move by Orion Pharma and will bring its R&D capabilities and functions closer to the main European markets, says Dr. Esa Heinonen.
Orion has also a marketing company, Orion Pharma (UK) Ltd. in Newbury, England. It mainly operates in sales and marketing of Orion Pharma's own proprietary products. Its main brands are currently Comtess® for Parkinson's Disease and Tridestra® for hormone replacement therapy. Simdax® for acute heart failure is expected to be launched later this year.
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 MEUR 437.8 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. Orion Pharma is the leader in the pharmaceutical market in Finland. 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), hormone therapy, 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 Comtess, also available as Comtan (entacapone), Orion Pharma's own NCE for Parkinson's Disease, now registered and launched in more than 35 countries including the EU and the U.S. In cardiology field Orion Pharma recently obtained approval in Sweden for Simdax, which is a unique life saving drug for the treatment of acute heart failure.
Contact persons:
Orion Corporation Orion Pharma
Dr. Esa Heinonen, Senior Vice President, Preclinical and Clinical Research. tel. +358-9-429 4302
Dr. Kari Varkila, Senior Vice President, Communications and Medical Information tel. +358-9-429 3325
Orion Corporation Orion Pharma P.O. Box 65, FIN-02101 ESPOO, Finland