Ever since its foundation in 1969, ELPEN's evolution to become the leading Greek pharmaceutical company, was experienced by means of significant milestone events with the passing of each decade.
The sixties was the decade during which the pharmaceutical sector started to flourish in Greece. It is around that time that ELPEN's story begins.
- In 1965, Dimitrios Pentafragas, Chairman and CEO of ELPEN, a graduate of the Pharmacy School of the University of Athens, had already worked for 5 years in the pharmaceutical sector as a medical representative. It was during this period that he decided to realize his dream, which was to build his own company and make it a leader in the Greek pharmaceutical market.
- ELPEN was initially set up in a 25 m2 area in downtown Athens, with the valuable assistance of the Chairman's late wife, Eleni Pentafragas. Her name was to be forever remembered and honoured since the name ELPEN stems from her name.
- The first products were created: two branded generic antibiotics: Flemicin®(novobiocin) and Eryhthropen® (erythromycin), which were produced under a contract manufacturing agreement. The determining factors behind the initial success of these very first products, were the Chairman's extensive knowledge of the Greek pharmaceutical market which allowed for a targeted product selection, and the excellent product quality which won the confidence of the Greek doctors. The next step was to build ELPEN's very own production plant.
1970 was a milestone year for the company due to the construction of the manufacturing plant located at Pikermi, a site 20 km away from the center of Athens.
- Within two years, 3.000 m2 of production facilities were built, equipped with state-of-the-art machines, allowing for the in-house manufacturing of ELPEN's products, under GMP and GLP conditions.
- ELPEN's product list at the time consisted of antibiotics, vitamins, and cardiological pharmaceuticals such as Pensordil® (isosorbide dinitrate) and Macorel® (nifedipine).
- The plant was considered a state-of-the-art production site by Greece's Health authorities, as well as by the medical community. As a result, ELPEN negotiated and obtained several important contract-manufacturing agreements for the products of multinationals, such as Eaton (1975-1981), Pierre Fabre (1977-1982), Dow-Chemicals (1976-1990), and Warner Lambert (1977-1992).
The 80's was marked by further growth for ELPEN, whereby towards the end of the decade ELPEN ranked within the 50 leading pharmaceutical companies of Greece.
- An additional 7.000 m2 were added to the manufacturing site.
- Several pharmaceutical products were launched some of which, are up until today, among ELPEN's most successful products. These include Lumaren® (ranitidine) in the sector of gastroenterology, and Monosordil® (isosorbide mononitrate), in the sector of cardiology.
ELPEN's real exponential growth took place in the 90's, whereby towards the end of the decade ELPEN ranked an impressive 13th among more than 250 pharmaceutical companies, including multinationals.
- The company's product portfolio was developed even further with several branded generics, such as the antiulcerant Penrazol® (omeprazole). Furthermore, the portfolio was enriched with original pharmaceuticals: the antianemic Legofer® (iron protein succinylate), a product under license by Italfarmaco (Italy), and the hypolipidemic Eltina® (cerivastatin), under a co-marketing agreement with Bayer (Germany). Each product achieved an unprecedented success! Legofer® is up to date the leader in the Greek antianemic market, and Eltina® had the best market penetration in all of Europe.
- Furthermore, in 1997 a state-of-the-art production unit for injectable cephalosporins became operational, producing pharmaceuticals intended for hospital use.
- In 1999 ELPEN purchased a 1.000 m2 building in downtown Athens, which houses the departments of Marketing and Sales.
- This decade was also marked by the establishment of ELPEN's R&D facility. ELPEN's research department was housed in a 1,000 m2 facility, equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Our highly trained researchers have been successfully pursuing ELPEN's objective of developing new branded generics, as well as original proprietary pharmaceutical products, including ELPENHALER®, our new, proprietary, patent protected, Multi Single-Dose Dry Powder Inhaler, for the administration of antiasthmatic drugs.
Moreover, a breakthrough concept was established, unique to Greece, whereby the ELPEN Research and Development department was to provide and offer at no cost whatsoever, technologically advanced equipment as well as working areas intended for research, to the Greek and international medical communities and to scientists worldwide, in order for them to pursue their research endeavours. This generous concept never existed in Greece before ELPEN's noble initiative: always striving towards the advancement of Research with the sole objective of improving the quality of life of our fellow-man!
ELPEN entered the 21st century as the leading, purely Greek pharmaceutical company, among the local Greek-owned companies.
- We presently rank 8th in a market of more than 400 companies, local and multinationals.
We have grown into a 'family' of 560 people (with a total of 732 employees for the entire ELPEN group), out of which 250 are highly trained employees in the Marketing and Sales Departments promoting ELPEN's products to 24.000 Medical Doctors, and 3.500 Pharmacists in the Greek territory.
The annual turnover in 2011 was 126 million euros.
- Furthermore, the year 2000 was marked by establishing important new collaboration regarding the original pharmaceuticals of multinational companies, such as Novartis, Baxter, Bayer, Lundbeck, Euritalia and recently Ferring.
- Most importantly, the development of the ELPENHALER® for the administration of antiasthmatic products, has progressed even further with three ELPENHALER® products: Formopen®, Fluticapen® and Rolenium®, already successfully marketed in Greece.
- Our goal is to further expand ELPEN's presence in the world, starting with the Balkan countries and moving on to Europe, by taking advantage of Greece's strategic, geographical position, and our company's extensive and innovative product portfolio.