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Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Type public company
Industry Pharmaceuticals/Biotech
Founded 1997
Founder(s) Jean-Paul Clozel, Martine Clozel, Walter Fischli, André J. Müller and Thomas Widmann

Gewerbestrasse 16

Allschwil, Basel country, Switzerland
Area served Research and Development of medicines for unmet medical need
Key people Jean-Paul Clozel, Chief Executive Office
Guy Braunstein, Global Clinical Development
Otto Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer
Nicholas Franco, Chief Business Officer
André C. Muller, Chief Financial Officer
Products Tracleer, Ventavis, Zavesca, Veletri, Opsumit
Revenue 1,929 mio CHF
Operating income 457.3 mio CHF
Net income 390.6 mio CHF
Employees 2467 (January 2011)

Actelion was founded in December 1997 and has its headquarters in Allschwil near Basel (Switzerland).[1] Its CEO and co-founder is cardiologist Jean-Paul Clozel.[2]

Actelion scientists were among the first to work in the field of endothelian receptor antagonists.[3] The company name might be a reminder for its first product, an endothelian receptor antagonist and the verb "action", "act upon". Actelion was initially financed with venture capital provided through a syndicate including Sofinnova and HealthCap.

Actelion specializes in orphan diseases.[4] Often R&D investments in such diseases are low because companies see no ROI. Obviously, this is a serious problem for patients affected by a rare disease.[5] Orphan diseases often affect very vulnerable patient groups such as children; Actelion keeps investing in such areas:[6]

Actelion has 29 operative affiliates around the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and a number of EU countries. The Swiss affiliate is located in Baden, the German affiliate in Freiburg, the Austrian one in Vienna, the French one in Paris and the UK affiliate is located in London[7]

In 2006, the company established the Actelion Endothelin Research Award programme which supports selected clinical research projects.


Actelion currently has 10 compounds in its pipeline – including 3 in late-stage development – and 4 medicines on the market for orphan diseases:

Actelion's pipeline includes compounds for PAH, ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, asthma, psoriasis, allergic rhinitis and cystic fibrosis. Quite some new scientific data on these molecules is expected to be published in 2011 and 2012.

Key figures[edit]

By January 2011, Actelion had a total of 2,467 employees, 392 in research, 640 in development and 1017 in sales and marketing. In 2010, Actelion's sales amounted to 1,929 million CHF.[12]

Actelion's shares have been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker symbol ATLN) since 2000 SWX Swiss Exchange Swiss Leader Index. In September 2008, Actelion shares began trading as part of the blue-chip SMI Swiss Market Index.[1][13][14][15]

Current News[edit]

While Elliot Advisors, a US hedge fund, is currently criticising Actelion's Board,[16] CNBC published a list of top executives in Europe where Actelion ranks second.[17] The hedge fund asked for a number of changes re. Actelion's corporate governance and criticised its Management and Board. At Actelion's AGM on May 5, 2011, shareholders dismissed all of Elliot's motions, see Reuters'article for details:[18]

In June 2011, Actelion announced a reorganisation of its senior management (c.f. story from Thomson Reuters): [19]


Actelion received the "Prix Hermès de l'innovation" (Hermès Award for Innovation) in April 2011:[20] The "European Institute for Creative Strategy and Innovation", the creator of the Prix Hermès, was founded in 2003 in France. The Institute is a think-tank which supports innovation strategies by its research and know-how in Europe and all over the world. It is developing a global approach to research in the context of a European culture which goes back to the humanism of Renaissance, taking into account the most advanced technologies and great international openness. Since it was founded, the EISCSI has been working with more than a hundred companies, universities and research entities.[21]

The "performance report for Swiss pharma websites" awarded Actelion the first Prize in the second consecutive year:.[22] While Actelion gets some criticism re. its use of social webtools, the company is now also active on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]