Fermion Oy celebrates its 50th anniversary

The festivities were postponed due to the pandemic and a new production record was set – all in the midst of exceptional times.

Risto Salmi, a duty production manager, has worked at Fermion's Hanko plant for 36 years.

"Things have completely changed during my time. The company has invested increasingly in safety and a high-quality working environment."

Risto says that he and his colleagues constantly ponder how the processes could be improved even further. Every day is different.

"I enjoy doing work that I know is meaningful. If something went wrong in our production, it would quickly affect the lives of many people around the world."

 The company and the industry have changed

Fermion's story began in 1970, when Orion and Kemira (then Rikkihappo Oy) established a joint venture with the aim of launching industrial-scale production of antibiotics in Finland.

A plant was erected in Hanko, but due to commercial constraints, the company soon decided to discontinue biological production. Since then, the company has specialised in chemically synthesized, small organic molecules.

Nowadays, Fermion manufactures the active ingredients for Orion's proprietary drugs, as well as for a number of the corporation's other products. Fermion also provides pharmaceutical ingredients to other companies and – under contract manufacturing systems – to drug developers.

Arto Toivonen, President ​of Fermion, outlines how Fermion and Orion have both changed over the decades and expanded internationally. At the same time, the industry has changed.

"The regulatory control has become stricter, as have the expectations of our customers. Corporate responsibility is central to everything we do." 

Production ensured during exceptional circumstances

Fermion is celebrating its 50th anniversary in a spirit of "getting things done". Due to the coronavirus, the festivities have been postponed until next year, and the Hanko and Oulu plants have been placed under a strict visitor ban.

"We wanted to make sure that our production is not disrupted because of our people falling ill. If there were any delays in our production, this would soon be reflected in the availability of many essential drugs."

In April, the Hanko plant even set a new production record.

"Achieving a new production record under such circumstances only shows how committed and highly professional our staff is. They all deserve a giant thank you for this achievement," Arto says.

Rikkihappo Oy and Lääketehdas Orion Oy signing an agreement to establish a joint venture company. Persons from left: A.W. Heino, Martti Hovi, Erkki Leikola, Sauli Sipilä, Reino Salonen and Pentti Koskelo.