Novartis and Porton creating biotech park in Mengeš

Mengeš, 10 January - Novartis, the Swiss owner of the Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical company Lek, and its Chinese supplier Porton Pharma Solutions, will set up a biotechnological park in Mengeš, central Slovenia. Novartis will lease part of its vacant premises to Porton in what the N1 news portal reports will create 300 new jobs.

A Lek production unit in Mengeš, a location where Novartis and Chinese Porton Pharma Solutions are planning to create a biotechnology park.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

According to Lek, Porton is to lease about 900 square meters of office space, 4,140 square metres of labs for research and development and a production facility from Novartis.

"This will allow the company to create its own R&D facilities and production inside the Life Science Park Mengeš," Lek said, adding that Novartis would like to attract biotechnological companies to the location.

According to N1, Lek has been keen for Porton to arrive in Europe since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce risks of disruption to pharmaceutical substances supplies.

Meanwhile, the agreement would allow Proton, which has sales units in Belgium and Switzerland, to expand in the European market.

The Chinese company told N1 that it would invest EUR 50 million in the construction of R&D and manufacturing unit in Mengeš, which is slated for completion in autumn 2024. It is also to lease a plot north of the existing production location in Mengeš.

Lek is part of Novartis's generics arm Sandoz, which Novartis last year announced would spin off into a separate company. Novartis is to focus on treatments in the fields of haematology, oncology, immunology, neuroscience and cardiovascular diseases, while Sandoz is to keep the generics and biosimilars division.

Since Lek's production units in Ljubljana, Mengeš, Lendava and Prevalje work for both Novartis and Sandoz, the spin-off will be an organisational challenge.

The N1 portal writes that it is not clear yet how the activities will be reorganised and separated, which of the companies will take the Lek brand, which jobs will fall to which company and who runs Lek.

Biosimilars production units in Austria and Slovenia will manufacture biosimilars for Sandoz. It is planned for Sandoz to continue to supply key products to Novartis for further distribution in some key markets, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, Novartis commented for N1 last year.

© STA, 2023