Sandoz Canada is first and foremost a Canadian success story that dates back to 2004 when the Novartis Group, the owner of Sandoz International GmbH, acquired Sabex, a Québec pharmaceutical company known for its entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.
Sabex had been founded in 1980 by a group of investors headed by pharmacist Michel Saucier and quickly stood out for its technological leadership. In 1985, it launched Morphine HP®, an injectable formulation of concentrated morphine to relieve pain in cancer patients. This product was a direct response to demand from pharmacists and the development of a growing market in Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). It helped to make Sabex a Canadian leader in the field of sterile injectable products.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Sabex continued to expand its portfolio of injectable and ophthalmic products. In 2000, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two of its products, opening up the American market. In 2002, US-based RoundTable Healthcare Partners became a majority shareholder of Sabex. This was an important springboard for the implementation of international strategies and Sabex’s continued expansion. By the time it was purchased by Novartis in 2004, Sabex had no fewer than 300 generic and specialized formulations. Over approximately a 20‑year period, its sales have risen from US$2 million to US$90 million.
In 2005, Sabex officially changed its name to Sandoz Canada.
A Surge in Growth
In 2005, Novartis acquired RhoxalPharma in Quebec and integrated it into Sandoz Canada. The company has since combined the expertise of Sabex and RhoxalPharma, and the financial, technological and logistical capabilities of Sandoz International GmbH, to ensure continued growth and new market development.
Sandoz Canada has one of the highest growth rates among manufacturers of generic pharmaceutical products in the country. Between 2007 and 2009, the company invested nearly $100 million in its Boucherville facilities and created no fewer than 200 new jobs. Its cutting-edge complex includes an ultramodern production center and a new head office, which was formally opened in late August 2009.
Sandoz Canada’s parent company dates back more than 120 years, during which time it has transformed itself from a small diversified chemical company to the world’s second largest producer of high-quality generic pharmaceuticals and a global leader in biosimilars and differentiated products.
Sandoz Canada history at a glance
2004-2005: Novartis purchases Sabex and RhoxalPharma in Québec.
2005 : Creation of Sandoz Canada Inc.
2007 to 2009: Creation of 200 new jobs.
2009: Inaugration of new headquarters in Boucherville, Québec.
2009 : Launch of first biosimilar in Canada: PrOmnitrope® (somatropin).
2013 : Expansion of Development Center.
2015 : 30 consumer products compared to 18 in 2014, in addition to known brands and those available without prescription such as Salinex® and Optimyxin®.
2015 : 14.5% Canadian market share compared to 0.6% in 2005, fast-tracking Sandoz from 6th to 3rd place among Canadian generic companies.
2016 : Acquisition of the Euro-Pharm product portfolio in North America.
2017: Launch of a new biosimilar: Erelzi (etanercept).
2018: Alliance between Sandoz Canada and Tilray for medical cannabis.
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