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Kostas Kanaroglou, the founder of the company, was born in Ikonio, Cappadocia, in 1898. He studied at the Evangelical School of Smyrna and later worked at the well-known Greek Pharmacy Moraitis in Frangomachala, Smyrna. During the events of 1922, he managed to survive under tragic circumstances and found himself in Athens, where he worked as a partner at the Triantafyllidis Pharmacy in Exarchia.
He rapidly develops representations of foreign pharmaceutical companies, some of which he was already familiar with from Moraitis Pharmacy in Smyrna. Simultaneously, he manufactures and sells cosmetic and over-the-counter products such as Petrole Cana, Rhodoline Chion, and Powder Rea "To Be Beautiful." In 1928, Kanaroglou establishes his company and imports well-known products such as Fissan, Cusi, Guigoz, and British Cod Liver Oils.
He moves into the traditional, privately-owned five-story building at 12 Hippocrates Street in the center of Athens. There, he sets up his offices and production laboratories. Collaborations begin with Schenley Laboratories with Titralac, and with ICI - Imperial Chemical Industries, now AstraZeneca, with the first products being the antibacterial Sulphamezathine, the antimalarial Paludrine, and the antiepileptic Mysoline. Additionally, the sale of the oral solution Odol begins.
In October 1951, the Anonymous Company "Pharmaceutical Laboratories Cana S.A." is established. In February 1952, the company purchases a plot of land with an industrial building in Heraklion, Attica, where the production unit is relocated. By the mid-1950s, Cana has over 120 products and represents 24 foreign companies, including Asta-Werke, British Cod Liver Oils, British Oxygen, Fissan, ICI, Cusi, Dubois, Eska, Lohmann, Smith Nephew, Vitamins Ltd, and Feen-a-mint.
In 1967, Kostas Kanaroglou is succeeded in the Presidency of the company by John Kanaroglou. Collaborations with Zeneca, Nestlé, Seven Seas and Fissan are significantly developed, and new companies such as Riker Laboratories and Molecular Products are added.
The headquarters, offices, and all the company's warehouses are relocated next to the factory unit on Heraklion Avenue to newly built offices.
In 1987, John Kanaroglou is succeeded in the Presidency of the company by Vassilis Emm. Niadas.
Office and warehouse extensions are inaugurated. Pharmaceutical Laboratories Cana is now one of the significant Greek companies in the fields of cardiology and oncology drugs and has established in hospitals total intravenous anesthesia with Diprivan and the innovative antibiotic Meronem. Additionally, it holds a leading position in the healthcare products market.
The merger of Astra and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in 1999 leads to the renewal of the collaboration with new products. In 2004, the company expands into the Clinical Nutrition market through a partnership with Nestlé. During the same period, the home care of patients is initiated. In 2006, the representation of Dr. Schär, a manufacturer of gluten-free foods, is established. In 2007, the company inaugurates a new modern office building on Heraklion Avenue.
Partnerships with leading medical device companies reinforce Cana's expertise in the specific industry. Simultaneously, the company's activities expand into surgical and wound care products. A milestone for Cana is the development and launch of the new line of EXELIA face care cosmetics, the first of its own brands for the current decade. Cana continually enriches its portfolio of proprietary products and expands its range of activities.