68% of its pharmaceutical production is destined for foreign markets.

ESTEVE is the first company to develop and patent an optimized formulation of Omeprazole, the most widely consumed stomach protector.

The new formulation is manufactured exclusively at the pharma plant of Martorelles (Barcelona), one of the cutting-edge plants in Europe.

A worldwide leader in pharmaceutical innovation, the company is to invest 20 million euros annually for the next three years in generic R&D.

Pensa Pharma (PENSA), ESTEVE's subsidiary in generic products and Esteve's partners, just launched a new formulation of the best known and most consumed stomach protector in Spain and worldwide: omeprazole. As a result of its strong commitment to pharmaceutical innovation, PENSA Esteve has become the world's first company to patent and market the new formulation of omeprazole.

Chiefly, PENSA's innovation consists in an optimized formulation of this generic product that allows reducing the capsule size while providing the capsule with higher stability and lower sensitivity to moisture-induced deterioration. The size of the final container has also been reduced by 43% for more convenient use, smaller storage space, and less residues in the environment.

Spain is the first market where the new formulation of omeprazole will be marketed by PENSA and three other leading companies in the generic product sector. In the rest of the world, the products will be marketed by PENSA's subsidiaries and also by means of licensing agreements and other agreements with some of the main global generic companies.

According to PENSA's General Manager Francesc Navarro, "PENSA's vocation for innovation has led to a new landmark that allows to successfully manage the life cycle of generic drugs". Also, "the worldwide patent of this new formulation is yet another proof of our bet on pharmaceutical innovation, an area we have strengthened despite the economic crisis and its heavy impact on our sector. It also positions PENSA as a reference in technology and knowledge and innovation in the area of stomach protectors".

In this sense, the company has approved a triennial investment plan (2015-2017) of 20 million euros a year in pharmaceutical innovation. Adding to this major effort is the annual investment of 6 million euros in assets foreseen for the same period of time.

Global ambition and commitment to generic drug innovation

The new omeprazole formulation has been developed at the innovation and pharmaceutical production center located in the Martorelles plant, which today exports 68% of its production all over the world and is one of the most modern, better equipped, cutting-edge plants in Europe, mainly in pharmaceutical technology and innovation.

In addition to production facilities ―with a workforce of more than 480 collaborators―, this plant has a team of 50 people exclusively devoted to R&D and is worldwide leader in pelletization technology, that is, the manufacture of small granules (pellets) coated with a number of layers that contain the active ingredient. This technology can brings major advantages to the formulation of innovative medicines.

The landmark of this new worldwide patent of omeprazole is part of PENSA's bet on international growth, announced in February this year on account of the acquisition of a portfolio of 25 generic products owned by US company Cypress Pharmaceutical Inc., for commercialization in the US market.

In 2014, precisely, the company will strengthen its presence in the United States ―one of the most demanding markets in the world― with new in-house products.

"Our strategy for growth is based on providing innovative generic products to the different markets where we are already present through our subsidiaries, and increasing our presence in new markets such as Australia, the Near East or China, either as a result of our own R&D skills, partnerships, or the acquisition of new products", Francesc Navarro states.

A new innovation with high added value

The technology developed for the new omeprazole formulation paves the way for its use in other medicines. Also, the company is currently in advanced negotiations with several companies worldwide to manufacture this and other products at the Martorelles plant by using this cutting-edge technology.

All stakeholders will benefit from this added value, including the patient ―by making product intake and handling easier on account of its small size― and the whole supply chain ―pharmacies, distributors, and wholesalers― at no extra cost to the health system or the final user.

In addition, the new formulation and presentation is more sustainable and has been designed to minimize environmental impact. The manufacturing process causes less residues, and the pack's smaller size (down by 43%) also results in lower packaging material volume and lower transportation-induced air pollution.

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