Opening of Pharmathen's New Ultra-Modern Production Unit in Northern Greece

Marking a new era for Pharmathen's entrepreneurial and economic activity in both the Greek and the international market, the company's new ultra-modern unit at Sapes Rodopi was officially opened today. The new plant was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Theodoros Pangalos.

Present at the event were Mr Giorgos Petalotis, Government Spokesman, Mr Giorgos Vlahos, Official Representative of the New Democracy party, Mr Gerasimos Giakoumatos, ex-labour Minister, and Mr Giorgos Pililitsis, Mayor of Sapes, who all addressed the audience, while local MPs, members of Local and Prefectural Authorities and senior officials of business and production agencies in the country also took part.

Pharmathen's new ultra-modern unit, an investment totaling 41 million euros, is one of the most technologically advanced drug producing units in Europe. Ever faithful to its motto "We research for the world, we invest in Greece", Pharmathen made this investment with the aim of satisfying the ever increasing production needs for the next five years. The need for the investment became necessary due to the intense export activity and the international expansion of Pharmathen. The new unit was designed to comply with the strictest European and American drug production standards while 90% of production will be destined for international markets.

It must also be noted that Pharmathen's new production plant is one of the most significant investments in Greece, and the biggest made in the pharmaceutical field in the last 30 years. It has been completed at a time when the recession and negative economic indicators dominate the Greek market. The total area of the new unit is 17,000 sq.m. and it has created 150 new jobs, while its production capability amounts on a yearly basis to 3 billion tablets and 2 billion capsules.

In his address at the opening, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Theodoros Pangalos, stated: "This is a project of vital importance, an initiative in the spirit of development for Greece, for Rodopi and the whole of Thrace. At a time when we are all aware of the difficult situation the country is facing and when everyone is talking about development, employment and investment, here in Sapes it has truly been proved that when private initiative so wishes, it can make an essential contribution, not only to making profits, which is the reasonable and desired objective of the operation of any enterprise, but also to the development of greater areas by creating new jobs, supporting the population in their place of residence, increasing healthy competition, transferring expertise and attracting new investments that are likely to follow. How much more so when the investment in question is made by a purely Greek industry active in the vital field of drug production, the prices of which were considerably discussed beforehand. It is certain that this new unit at Pharmathen will duly contribute to the better operation of the pharmaceutical market in general and to the more rational pricing of pharmaceutical products in Greece to the benefit of the consumer.

I would like to express my warmest congratulations to the management and personnel at Pharmathen, who are today making a vision come true, to assure them that the Government will continue to assist them in such initiatives and to wish the new unit well, may it operate efficiently and always be successful."

At the same time, the President of the Pharmathen Group, Mr Vassilios Katsos, stated in his speech, "We are particularly proud of being true to the date we gave 3 years ago as we inaugurate this our most important investment, which is one of the most modern drug producing units in Europe. An investment that once again brings to the fore the message of development by adding new data to the entrepreneurial and financial course of Pharmathen. A unit that I would like to hope will carry our country a step forward."

As far as future plans are concerned, Mr Katsos announced that the company will continue its development course with important new investments in Greece, capitalizing its intense export activity. As he said, "Extroversion and innovation make up the main pillar of Pharmathen's strategy and in difficult times such as these we are going through, it is maybe a one-way street for many Greek enterprises."

"We export Greek expertise, we export Greek drugs and send them to the neighbourhoods of the world, to 85 countries. And along with that, every time we raise the Greek 'flag' a little higher," he added.

Ms Nellie Katsou, Vice-President of Pharmathen, said, "At a time of intense deindustrialization and unemployment, Pharmathen persists in investing in Greece and particularly in the regions, considerably strengthens the labour market and continues to freely carry out research for the benefit of all. And that is most hopeful and optimistic message, not only for Pharmathen and the sector but also for the Greek economy. Pharmathen is proof that in Greece research and innovation is produced and expertise and pharmaceutical products with added value are exported. Because it is finally time to start talking about Greek extroversion and Greek industry. It is time for Greek business, as well as the Greek pharmaceutical industry, to become a reliable ambassador for our country abroad. We would like the example set by Pharmathen, which is today the largest private research agency in Greece, to be followed by other enterprises."

About Pharmathen
Pharmathen was established in 1969 in Athens, as a private pharmaceutical company, and initially focused on development and the trading of pharmaceutical products, holding an important position in the field of generics. With 3 ultra-modern research laboratories and 2 industrial units, Pharmathen's activity is completely verticalized, covering all stages from development through to the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

The company's workforce is made up of more than 650 persons who are employed in the fields of Research & Development (R&D), production and promotion of pharmaceutical products for more than 85 countries worldwide. Today Pharmathen's products are approved in all EU countries and their distribution rights are granted to the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, particularly in Europe, the United States of America and Canada. Pharmathen's sales amounted to €115 million in 2009.