Actelion was founded in December 1996 and has its headquarters in Allschwil near Basel (Switzerland). Its CEO and co-founder is cardiologist Jean-Paul Clozel. Actelion scientists were among the first to work in the field of endothelian receptor antagonists. The company name might be a reminder for its first product, an endothelian receptor antagonist and the verb "action", "act upon".
Actelion is specialized in orphan diseases. 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. Orphan diseaes often affect very vulnerable patient groups such as children; Actelion keeps investing in such areas.
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.