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Croatian Immunology Institute files for bankruptcy, questions remain

By Zachary Brennan , 27-Jan-2014

Croatian Immunology Institute files for bankruptcy, questions remain
Croatian Immunology Institute files for bankruptcy, questions remain

The future of the organisation that makes many of Croatia’s drugs and immunotherapies is in doubt, with reports suggesting the Government is trying to sell off parts of the state run drugmaker.

According to various local media  reports the Croatian Immunology Institute announced it had filed for bankruptcy earlier this month in a move that would see its 200 or so research staff lose their jobs.

However, since the announcement, the picture has become more confused with reports on Sciblogs  and  both referencing media speculation that the Institute’s bankruptcy filing was prompted by political desire to sell the operation rather than a loss of profitability.

These suggestions prompted the Croatian Government to issue a statement to try and clarify matters.

After repeated media articles on the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy for the state of the Institute of Immunology, we must emphasize that the bankruptcy proceedings in the Institute of Immunology was launched without the knowledge of the Supervisory Board of the Institute.”

But, late last week, the situation changed again. spoke with Vlatko Silobrcic , director of the institute from 1992–1997, who told us last Friday that: “It has just been announced, on this evening's news, that the bankruptcy procedure has been stopped, and that about 200 employees receiving the notice of dismissal will continue being employed.

It seems to me that this can be a temporary solution only, and that the fate of the Institute remains questionable,” Silobrcic said. “It would be, I believe, impossible to guess a further course of events and, therefore, quite premature to write a definitive story.”

Profitability or problems

Based on a Google translation of the bankruptcy announcement, it appears that the institute’s sales fell from about €43.6M in 2012 to €17.5M in 2013.

The sales decline follows just a year after the Institute lost is Croatian national drug agency license to manufacture blood derivatives and bacterial vaccines, which previously represented about 80% of its revenues according to Sciblogs reporter Mico Tatalovic.

The bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for February 14.

The Institutes woes are in stark contrast with those of private drugmakers in the country. For exampleTeva’s subsidiary Pliva recently opened a $100m  manufacturing facility in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, to increase the country’s exports to the EU and US.

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