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Silicon 70 2018

A Specialty Pharmaceutical Company Which Has Developed Four Products – From Idea to Patient: Orexo


Orexo is founded with a vision to develop improved pharmaceuticals, fulfilling unmet patient needs. This is done by optimization of the properties of well-documented substances in combination with Orexo’s innovative drug delivery technologies. This approach is associated with less risk, shorter time to market and fewer investments required, compared to the development of new chemical entities (NCE).

Orexo develops improved pharmaceuticals based on innovative drug delivery technologies. The focus is primarily on opioid dependence and pain but it is also its aim to address other therapeutic areas where competence and technologies can create value.

Orexo’s principal market today is the American market for the treatment of opioid dependence using buprenorphine/naloxone. Orexo operates in the market through the commercialization of Zubsolv®, which is an effective drug for people with an opioid addiction. Dying from an overdose is one of the most common causes of death in the US and in 2016 more than 60,000 Americans died of an overdose, mainly caused by opioids. The problem is classified as an epidemic. Several important federal initiatives have been taken to increase access to treatment, and this creates scope for continued strong growth.

Development - High Activity in the Pipeline

Orexo develops improved products by combining well-known and well-documented substances with in-house innovative drug delivery technologies. Several important steps have been taken towards future formulation technologies, with the aim of developing innovative technologies for both oral and sublingual formulation of drugs. Orexo’s development is based on innovations that have been made possible by the interaction between skillful researchers and experts from different scientific backgrounds. This innovative climate still characterizes Orexo in its work to develop products and helping patients worldwide through even better drugs.

Orexo’s commitments

“Our commitments are a set of internal regulations and guidelines that form the overall structure that will guide Orexo in decision making as well as in day-to-day operations. Together they lay the foundation for our relationship with patients, society, shareholders, partners and other stakeholders - not least our employees.”

Sustainability: People and Society

People and society

Orexo’s efforts to create added value for patients and other stakeholders and to ensure access to quality pharmaceutical products have a positive impact on several sustainability aspects.

  • Human Rights: Through the Business Compliance and Ethics Code Orexo supports the International Bill of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The company’s highest risks of violation of these rights are, however, in the Supply Chain, beyond the direct control of the company. Hence, in the Human Rights issue area, the company works with enhancing external performance and the commitment is enforced through the Supplier Code of Conduct and the Supplier Management Principles.
  • Environment: Within the overall sustainability work, Orexo focuses environmental efforts on product development, the supply of goods and the handling of chemicals. It is committed to continually reduce the environmental impacts of business and products by increasing energy efficiency, reducing consumption of materials, improving waste management and by keeping emissions of pharmaceutical substances at low levels. In order to reduce business travel, the company encourages business meetings to be held by telephone or on the web.

In order to ensure that the company follows current environmental laws, regulations, directives, and requirements and has satisfactory internal control, operations are conducted in line with the environmental management system. The system is aligned with ISO 14001, but there are at present no plans to certify the system accordingly. Orexo’s environmental group, consisting of representatives from different parts of the company, is responsible for monitoring and continually improving environmental work and for employees receiving appropriate environmental training and information.

  • Labor: Orexo has a workforce of approximately one hundred people evenly distributed between Sweden and the United States. As a company with its roots in Sweden and a subsidiary in another developed country, fundamental labor rights standards such as the abolition of child labor, maintaining freedom of association and elimination of forced and compulsory labor are generally both ethically and legislatively well developed. Orexo, however, recognizes the local and global challenges of inequality in respect of employment and occupationally inflicted health issues.

Through the Business Compliance and Ethics, Code Orexo condemn any form of harassment or discrimination including such characteristics protected by applicable laws and regulations. To enforce the policy the Swedish organization maintains an equal opportunities plan which is updated with on a regular basis.

  • Anti-Corruption: A recognized risk for businesses within the healthcare sector is ethics and compliance violations in interactions with Healthcare Professionals (HCP), Healthcare Organizations and Government Officials. The legislation in this area is comprehensive, not the least in the US with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act as an example where transparent disclosure of expenses in relations with HCPs is required. In order to complement the legislation and to communicate internally and externally what values should permeate business conduct, Orexo has formed global and local policy programs.

The Dynamic CEO

Nikolaj Sørensen President and CEO: Nikolaj is employed in 2011 and is Chief Executive Officer since February 2013. He Holds 33,000 shares and stock options/share awards entitling to 411,494 shares.

Nikolaj holds B.Sc., and M.Sc. from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

“Orexo wants to be recognized for the value our pharmaceutical products bring to the patients and being trusted for the way we work and operate in delivering benefits to patients, society, partners, and other stakeholders.”