Value through Innovation07 February 2016

1948 - 1988: Going global

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For Boehringer Ingelheim too, currency reforms and "economic miracles" provided a sound framework for continued growth. In 1955, the general economic boom that accompanied reconstruction saw a fourfold increase in the number of employees on that of 1939. New and highly effective pharmaceutical products were launched in the late 1950s, forming the basis of Boehringer Ingelheim’s research programme: agents for the treatment of respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.

The importance of foreign markets for a chemical/pharmaceutical concern was recognised by the founder's second son, Dr Ernst Boehringer. A home-based subsidiary was established in 1946 in Biberach an der Riss when the Thomae production unit was added to Boehringer Ingelheim’s two existing plants. The first foreign subsidiary, which was established in Vienna in 1948, was followed by more subsidiaries in Europe and overseas.

Following the death of Albert and Ernst Boehringer, Julius Liebrecht becomes Chairman of the Board in 1965. His son, Hubertus Liebrecht, joins the Board of Managing Directors in 1967 and is appointed Chairman in 1971. Albert’s son, Dr Wilhelm Boehringer, is also a member of the Board of Managing Directors, joining in 1967, and heads the Production and Technology division until his untimely death in 1975 at the age of 44.

From the 1950s until the late 1980s, Boehringer Ingelheim launches a number of important and innovative products onto the market, including the respiratory agents Alupent® (1961), Bisolvon® (1963), Berotec® (1972), Atrovent® (1975) and Berodual® (1980).

Among its products used in the treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system, Boehringer Ingelheim launches Catapresan® (1966), which uses a new active principle in the treatment of hypertension. This is followed by Mexitil® (1979), which is used in the treatment of arrhythmia.

In 1977, the company launches Asasantin®, which is used in the treatment of thromboses and embolisms and combines the effects of Persantin®(1959) and acetylsalicylic acid (ASS). This is followed in 1979 by the mucolytic agent Mucosolvan®.

The launch of Actilyse® in 1987 is, in two ways, a milestone for Boehringer Ingelheim. Not only is it the first thrombolytic treatment for acute heart attacks, but it is also Boehringer Ingelheim’s first proprietary product developed at its biopharmaceutical production site, which opened the year before.

Milestones during this period