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Company history

Kostas Kanaroglou, the founder of the company, was born in Iconio, Cappadocia in 1898. He graduated from the prestigious Greek Evangelical School of Smyrna and was then employed by the well-known Moraitis Greek Pharmacy in the city’s European quarter. During the 1922 Smyrna destruction, Kostas Kanaroglou survived under dramatic circumstances. After reaching Athens, he joined the Triandafyllidis Pharmacy in the capital’s Exarchia district as a partner.

The 1930s

Soon after his arrival in Athens Kostas Kanaroglou secured the representation of numerous international pharmaceutical firms, some of whom were already known to him from Smyrna. At the same time, he started manufacturing and selling his own cosmetics and parapharmaceutical products such as Petrole Cana, Rodalini Chion face cream and Rea face powder. In 1928 Kanaroglou founded his own company and started importing well-known products such as Fissan, Cusi, Guigoz and British Cod Liver Oils

The 1940s

Kostas Kanaroglou moved the company’s offices and production laboratories to a wholly owned traditional-style building at 12 Ippokratous Street in downtown Athens. He developed commercial partnerships with Schenley Laboratories for Titralac, and Imperial Chemical Industries (then known as ICI and now as AstraZeneca), starting with their Sulphamezathine antimicrobial, Paludrine antimalarial and Mysoline anticonvulsant medicines. He also began to market the Odol oral solution.

The 1950s

In October 1951, Kostas Kanaroglou founded Cana and as early as 1952 the company bought land and a plant in Irakleio, Attica, where production was moved. In the mid-60s Cana’s product range included more than 120 products in partnership with 24 pharmaceutical firms including Asta-Werke, British Cod Liver Oils, British Oxygen, Fissan, ICI, Cusi, Dubois, Eska, Lohmann, Smith Nephew, Vitamins Ltd and Feen-a-mint.

The 1960s

In 1967 Yannis Kanaroglou succeeded Kostas as Chairman of the company. Its partnerships with Zeneca, Nestlé, Seven Seas and Fissan grew significantly and new ones were added, namely with Riker Laboratories and Molecular Products..

The 1970s

The company’s headquarters, offices and warehouses were moved into newly-built premises next to the production plant on Irakleiou Avenue.

The 1980s

In 1987 Vasilis E. Niadas took over from Yannis Kanaroglou as Chairman of the company.

The 1990s

Offices and warehouses were expanded. Cana Laboratories now became one of the most important Greek firms in the cardiovascular disease and oncology medication sectors, making general intravenous anesthesia with Diprivan and the innovative antibiotic Meronem, the standard choices in hospitals. It also achieved a leading position in the health care product market.

The 2000s

The merger of Astra and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in 1999 led to the introduction of new products via Cana’s partnership with the new company. In 2004 Cana entered the clinical nutrition market through its partnership with Nestlé, and in that year also introduced its home patient care service and related products. In 2006 the company began marketing gluten-free products following its exclusive agreement with Dr. Schär. In 2007 a new, state-of-the-art office building at Irakleiou Avenue was established.

The 2010s

The acquisition of Sara Lee by Unilever gave Cana the opportunity to move into the distribution of selected over-the-counter products to pharmacies. It is currently in the process of exploring the medical devices market through its commercial agreement with Covidien/PharmaSwiss, whilst expanding its business deal with Mölnlycke Health Care GmbH to include operating theatre and wound care products.