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Orion Pharma's Turku Research Centre extension inaugurated. Orion continues its strong investment in Pharmaceutical Research in Finland

Turku 16 September 2002  - The extension of Orion Pharma's Turku Pharmaceutical Research Centre will be inaugurated today in the presence of  Ms. Maija Perho, Minister for Social Affairs and Health of Finland. The enlargement will provide Orion Pharma's research functions with some 7,000 m2 of new premises.
Built to the existing R&D facilities of Orion Pharma's Turku Research Centre, the extension adds over 6,600 m2 to the research premises.  The cost of the construction project totalled 10.5 million euros. Architect Reijo Suomi with the Turku-based Arkkitehtitoimisto Sigge Oy (Architectural office) and the principal constructor Skanska were responsible for the project. Orion Pharma's researchers have already settled in the new premises handed over to Orion in April-May last spring.
The pharmacological research laboratories, clinical development and associated support functions which focus on the early-stage research on central nervous system and hormonal therapies enjoy the modern and luminous premises in the extension. The constantly expanding pharmaceutical and analytic product development now have new premises for the development and manufacturing of investigational products  in line with international quality standards. The regulatory drug authorities monitor both the production and the R&D premises on a regular basis.
Along with the introduction of the extended premises, the Turku R&D Centre will launch new synthetic chemistry operations.  Earlier, Orion had had appropriate premises for that purpose in Espoo only. "The modern new premises and the equipment, as well as the ensuing possibility to increase human R&D resources mean that we now have significantly improved prerequisites for the invention and development of new original substances. Through the introduction of the new premises, the pharmacologists and chemists involved in the search and synthesis of new drug candidates will work in the same premises in closer contact to each other, which will certainly promote the drug discovery process", says Dr. Antti Haapalinna VP, Drug Discovery and Pharmacology.
Research is Imperative for Progress in Medicine 
Dr. Esa Heinonen, head of Orion Pharma's Preclinical and Clinical Research, underlines the importance of the new facilities - capable of promoting the development of demanding pharmaceutical research - from the perspective of maintaining Orion Pharma's competitiveness and innovative capacity.
In  2001 Orion Pharma allocated 16 percent of its net sales to research and development, slightly more than the major European pharmaceutical companies on average. In the Finnish comparison, Orion Pharma ranks second after Nokia in R&D expenditure.  The corresponding  share is expected to be over 20% in 2002.
"Thanks to the more than 900 persons employed in R&D, Orion Pharma is at the vanguard of original drug development in Finland. Orion Pharma's Turku R&D Centre enjoys a long history of expertise and has an impressive track record of pharmaceutical research and persistent development work. Now that the synthetic chemistry operations have expanded to Turku, the operations here will comprise all sectors of pharmaceutical research and development, from the search for new pharmaceutical mechanisms to the registration of new preparations", Dr. Heinonen points out.
"Our growing R&D activity needs more space, and it is ideal to add these premises to the existing ones. Moreover, both the City of Turku and Turku University have made considerable contributions to improve the operative conditions of research and education in this field. Now that we are expanding our operations in Turku, we are convinced that we will be able to recruit competent and innovative staff. The new degree programme in health biosciences at Turku University has already provided us with additional resources", Dr. Esa Heinonen continues.
Besides Turku, Orion Pharma has R&D operations in Espoo and Kuopio, Finland as well as Nottingham, England.
Orion Celebrated its 85th Anniversary
In September 2002 Orion celebrated its 85th anniversary with its personnel. After all these years, pharmaceuticals remain the company's main focus area. Operations started at a very modest scale on 21 September 1917.  By the year 1938, Orion had become Finland's largest pharmaceutical company.
Orion's research based on original molecule discoveries has a far shorter history. Orion started to invest heavily in R&D only about twenty years ago. To date, Orion's in-house research has produced seven proprietary drugs. Among them, is the Parkinson's disease drug Comtess®/Comtan® (entacapone), which has marketing authorisation in about 70 countries, enjoys the best international success.
For further information and photos, please go to
Recent news:
-      Orion Pharma is applying for the US marketing authorisation for the new Parkinson's disease combination drug /Stock Exchange Release 26 September 02/
-      Letter published in Lancet re-confirms levodopa "as gold standard" therapy for Parkinson's Disease /Media Release 19 August 02, Orion Pharma, Novartis/
-      Letter published in Lancet: Study shows mortality with new agent to be lower that with "gold standard" in treatment of severe heart failure /Media Release 20 July 02, Abbott Laboratories/
Orion Pharma
Orion Pharma, part of the Orion Group is an intensively R&D oriented manufacturer and marketer of pharmaceuticals. In 2001, Orion Pharma's net sales rose to EUR 487.0 million, accounting for about 50% of the Group net sales and about two thirds of the consolidated operating profit. Over half of the net sales (57.8%) are generated by the international operations. The Orion Pharma marketing companies operate in ten European countries. Over the past few years, Orion Pharma has launched several original preparations in its four core therapy areas, i.e., Central Nervous System disorders, Cardiology and Critical Care, Hormonal Therapies and Respiratory disorders. Last year, Orion Pharma allocated 16% of its net sales to pharmaceutical research, and the products based on in-house research account for a growing share of Orion Pharma's net sales.
Orion Pharma's leading product is the Parkinson's disease drug entacapone, marketed in 40 countries under the tradenames Comtess® and Comtan®. Orion Pharma has recently obtained several marketing authorisations for Simdax® (levosimendan), a unique preparation for the treatment of acute heart failure. Orion Pharma's proprietary central nervous system drugs marketed internationally include the animal sedatives Domosedan®, Domitor® and the antagonist Antisedan®, as well as the analgesic sedative Precedex® used in ICUs and marketed in the U.S. The proprietary hormone products include the breast cancer drug Fareston®, produced in Turku, as well as the hormone replacement therapy preparation Divigel®. Orion Pharma's Easyhaler dry-powder inhaler containing salbumatol and beclomethasone, the drugs of choice used in asthma therapy, has been registered almost Europe-wide.

For further information, please contact Orion Corporation Orion Pharma:

VP, Drug Discovery and Pharmacology, Antti Haapalinna, Turku
tel. +458 10 429 7670, email:  
SVP, Research and Development, Esa Heinonen, Espoo
Tel. +358 10 429 4302,email:  
President Risto Miettunen, Espoo
tel. +358 10 429 4299, email:  
Communications Manager Tuula Laitinen, Espoo
tel. +35810 429 2136, email: