Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa honours BIAL's longest-serving employee in the year of the company’s centenary

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa honours BIAL's longest-serving employee in the year of the company’s centenary


Presidente da República visitou fábrica da farmacêutica portuguesa no âmbito da conferência de comemoração dos 100 anos

This Tuesday (25), the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, awarded the Order of Merit to the longest-serving employee of Portugal's largest pharmaceutical company. The award was presented as part of the laboratory's 100th anniversary celebrations, on the day of the BIAL 100 Years – Shaping the future conference, held at the Serralves Foundation (Porto).

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited the facilities of the company focused on research and development and honoured the company's longest-serving employee, Alfredo Ferreira, who has been with the company for 38 years. Ferreira is a production operator and works in the industrial area, in packaging, having dedicated his professional life to serving the company.

This honour reflects the recognition of the President of the Republic for the work of the employee of the first national pharmaceutical group to make its own research molecules and national patents available on the market and which, over the years, has contributed to the health and economic sectors through its strong commitment to R&D.

The visit by the President of the Republic takes place as part of the celebrations for the company's 100th anniversary, with the BIAL 100 Years – Shaping the future conference taking place today (25) at the Serralves Foundation from 3pm. The event, which will be opened by the Minister of Economy, Pedro Reis, will analyse the challenges facing Portugal and the world, particularly in the economic, social, political and health fields.

The conference will feature António Vitorino, former Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, Luís Portela, President of the BIAL Foundation, and António Horta Osório, the company’s Chairman. The BIAL 100 Years – Shaping the future conference will be closed by the President of the Portuguese Republic. The conference will be streamed here.

Also in the context of the company's centenary, last week (Friday 21st) the Portuguese parliament approved a vote of congratulations presented by the President of the Portuguese Parliament.

Initiatives to celebrate 100 years

PIn addition to the conference, BIAL has been celebrating its centenary since January 2024 with various initiatives. The company has presented a renewed image and signature alluding to the date, seeking to reflect the pharmaceutical company's history. 'Inspired by the future' reflects its positioning over the years, in which the company has always looked to the future by investing in R&D projects. A documentary film is also being produced, taking the evolution of the company as its guiding thread, and examining all the political, social, economic and scientific contexts in which the company has developed. A website dedicated to the centenary is also available online at, featuring highlights of the company's history and the main events that have been organised to mark this milestone.

History of BIAL

The pharmaceutical company was founded by Álvaro Portela in April 1924 in the centre of Porto. Run by the fourth generation of the family, BIAL today is an international and innovative company, marketing its own medicines on a global scale, and is one of the main players in the world of industrial and biomedical research and business in Portugal.

BIAL was the first, and is still the only pharmaceutical company in Portugal with medicines that it has developed itself, and with nationally patented medicines on the market. Since its launch in 2009, Zebinix (eslicarbazepine acetate), aimed at treating epilepsy, has impacted the lives of 800,000 patients. In 2016, BIAL launched its own medicine for Parkinson's Disease, Ongentys (opicapone) which is sold in several European countries, the USA, Japan and Australia, among many other markets, and is used by more than 85,000 patients annually.

In recent years, on average,BIAL has funnelled more than 20% of its annual turnover towards R&D, which is focused on neuroscience and rare diseases. BIAL has been enhancing its international presence, an aspect that it wants to strengthen, particularly in Europe and in the most relevant pharmaceutical markets, such as the USA, China and Japan. Sales in international markets, in around 50 countries, represent 75% of the company's turnover, which in 2023 reached 340 million euros.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa honours BIAL's longest-serving employee in the year of the company’s centenary

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