Fermion Oy, a privately held Finnish manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), has reached a significant milestone in its investment project by entering the commissioning phase of its new plant in Hanko (Finland).
The new, highly automated manufacturing facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology will replace the company’s oldest manufacturing unit. At the same time, it will ensure Fermion’s preparedness for the production of the active ingredients for Orion’s new proprietary products now in the clinical trial phase. Fermion currently manufactures azathioprine, which is an antirejection drug included in the WHO Essential Medicines List, and used, for example, in organ transplants. Azathioprine is one of the products for which Fermion is a world-leading manufacturer.
In 2016 Fermion, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finnish Orion, announced its investment of more than €30 million in the modernisation of production equipment at its plant in Hanko to meet both increasing global demand and the tightening requirements on quality, safety, the environment, and occupational health in the pharmaceutical industry. The investment will also make it possible to increase the plant’s production capacity by approximately 50% from the current level, up to nearly 300 tonnes a year. Depending on the pharmaceutical, one tonne of its active ingredient can proved as many as 100 million doses.
Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company. The core therapy areas of Orion’s pharmaceutical R&D are central nervous system (CNS) disorders, oncology and respiratory diseases for which Orion develops inhaled Easyhaler® pulmonary drugs.
“New requirements for the manufacturing of APIs are continuously being introduced regarding the use and the quality of the facilities and the equipment. The new manufacturing facility will meet these requirements and ensure our preparedness to meet increasing demand regarding the pharmaceuticals under development by the parent company Orion and the APIs to be delivered to other pharmaceutical companies,” says Arto Toivonen, President of Fermion Oy.
Nearly 100% of Fermion’s production is exported. The largest market areas are the USA and Europe. In addition, the APIs manufactured by the company are exported to India, for example, where production costs are significantly lower than in Finland. In addition to the parent company Orion, clients include some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Fermion’s key products include entacapone, manufactured at the Hanko plant, which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and azathioprine, which is used as an antirejection drug in organ transplants. The latter is also included in the WHO Essential Medicines List. Fermion is also a leading manufacturer of methotrexate, used in the treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, and the producer of 6-mercaptopurine, used in the treatment of leukemia and Crohn’s disease. Both of the products are manufactured at the company’s Oulu plant.