Animal studies play a vital role in the development of new medicines
Many physiological phenomena and disease processes can only be studied reliably with tests performed on humans or animals. Until it is possible to start voluntary human trials, theories developed using in vitro methods, like cell and tissue cultures and computer modelling, can only be proven with animal studies. Medicines Agencies also require animal testing before a new drug candidate is allowed to enter clinical trials in humans. Besides human medicines, animal testing is also a requirement in the approval process for drugs developed for the treatment of animals.
Orion’s internal animal studies involve mainly rodents, standard laboratory mice and rats. Genetically altered mouse strains are also used to investigate certain disease mechanisms. If necessary, non-rodent species, such as dogs and pigs, are also used when required by official regulations. In addition to these we commission tests on other animal species from external research institutes. For example, drugs for the treatment of serious human diseases may also have to be tested on monkeys, while cats, cattle and horses, along with above-mentioned dogs and pigs, are typical species for the testing of veterinary medicines.
In all our operations, we comply with the statutory requirements for animal research and international ethical principles regarding research animals. Orion only uses animals in pharmaceutical research when it is necessary. When there is no alternatives to animal testing available, Orion is committed to conducting animal studies responsibly.
Pharmaceutical research that puts animal welfare first
Animal welfare is a top priority for us – both in the animal testing carried out at Orion and in the testing commissioned from others. The starting point for our research using animals is that every study must be scientifically necessary and designed to maximise the use of the data collected from the study. The results of our tests must be reliable and reproducible. These principles also help to ensure that the number of animals used is kept to a minimum. The study results and records relating to the research animals are carefully processed and reported in accordance with official guidelines.
We ensure the welfare of animals in our research institutes in many ways. We respect each animal as an individual and strive to provide our animals with as species-specific living conditions as possible. The animals are allowed to acclimatise to their living conditions before the actual tests begin and they are habituated, meaning that they are allowed to gradually adapt to the coming procedures. We choose the suppliers of our research animals carefully and monitor their operations regularly. The same applies to all external research institutes.
We provide continuous training for our personnel who work with the animals. The daily care of animals, as well as the conditions in which the animals are kept are monitored by Orion’s veterinarians and animal welfare body, a team specialised in animal welfare. They also offer guidance in the best testing methods from the perspective of animal welfare. In addition to in-house control and self-monitoring, our research institutes are regularly audited by external authorities.