A lasting partnership

A lasting partnership | Oriola

Sobi is a leading biomedical company and a significant operator in the field of rare diseases.Sobi and Oriola have cooperated in Finland since the beginning of 2017. In Sweden, their cooperation began twenty years ago.

Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum) is a Swedish listed company. Its business operations are largely based on partnerships. The company carries out research and product development at its headquarters in Stockholm, but it also sells and markets drugs and treatments developed by other companies specialising in rare diseases. Its sales and marketing organisation operates in 24 countries in Europe. Through the organisation, Sobi markets products manufactured by its partners. This range currently includes more than 30 products. Sobi has a team of ten employees in Finland, and its net sales in Finland were close to EUR 6 million in 2016.

Sobi and Oriola have been cooperating for twenty years in Sweden, and their cooperation in Finland started at the beginning of 2017. These two listed companies have a great deal in common, including values. It is important for Sobi that patients with rare diseases are treated in a safe and timely manner. Oriola’s long experience and smoothly running logistics support this goal.

Biomedicines for rare diseases

Sobi’s own product portfolio is primarily focused on haemophilia, inflammation and genetic diseases. New investments include the development of haemophilia medications in cooperation with the American company Biogen. A new drug may require twelve years of research and an investment of more than EUR 1 billion.

“Out of ten thousand molecules, ten may exceed the market threshold. Only one of them may be profitable, and it needs to be profitable enough to cover the whole cost,” says Vesa Loponen, the Managing Director of Sobi. “The number of people with rare diseases is difficult to predict. This requires close cooperation with healthcare experts and hospitals, among other parties. We try to optimise the amount of medications to be stored, so that we won’t need to dispose of dead stock.”

As the number of patients is small, the significance of a medication is examined in a different way than is the case with more common diseases.

“If chemotherapy helps a patient with cancer, hair loss is a minor side effect. However, in terms of painkillers for a headache, it would be a major side effect,” says Loponen.

Beyond geographical boundaries

Loponen and Simon Ollus, Key Account Manager at Oriola, value long-term strategic partnerships that enable continuous operational development. Oriola has been developing and expanding its range of services for a long time. The integration of Farenta into Oriola also served this purpose. This means that a single operator will provide Sobi with all the services it needs.

“We operate throughout the life cycle of a medicinal product. In doing so, we provide the widest selection of services in our field. Our range of logistics and other services supports Sobi’s growth in Finland,” says Ollus.

“Oriola offers us a partnership tailored to our needs. The cooperation between Sobi and Oriola is not only based on customer relationship management. It also involves many other aspects, such as the exchange of information. It’s about trust,” says Loponen.

Mikael Melin, Customer Relationship Manager at Oriola in Sweden, agrees with Loponen: “It’s about a partnership that is based on a lasting foundation. We have been cooperating in Sweden since 1998, and Sobi trusts our high quality and our way of working. In terms of cooperation, it is essential to listen to the client and to be flexible and committed over the long term.”