Boehringer Ingelheim celebrates its 125-year existence and looks to the future with confidence
Success through inquiring minds and innovations
Ingelheim, Germany - In its 125th year too, the researchdriven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim continues its successful history, researching, developing and marketing innovative medicines for humans and animals.The world’s largest family-owned pharmaceutical company has always stayed true to the values of the company’s founder, Albert Boehringer, and in its jubilee year also confirmed its commitment to its guiding principle “Value through Innovation”. Today, 41,500 employees worldwide work in 142 affiliated companies on all continents. Of these, 11,434 plus 722 apprentices are with Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany. Research and development (R&D) is conducted in seven countries with the largest R&D site located at Biberach, Germany.
“Growth through our own research and development“ has been written large on the company banner. The result of high investment and intensive research: a broad range of prescription-only and over-the-counter products as well as a product pipeline well-filled with therapeutically promising substances in the indications stroke prevention, diabetes and oncology that should be launched within the next few years.
Independence remains the Shareholders’ supreme goal
The Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies, founded in 1885 by Albert Boehringer at the Rhineside town of Ingelheim, has been in family ownership since its foundation. The Shareholders’ declared goal is for Boehringer Ingelheim to remain also in the future as an independent, familyowned company that grows organically.
“With gratitude and respect we look upon what has been created since 1885 by all those people who were involved with the company in this period,“ said Christian Boehringer, Chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee.“Then the Shareholders set, and also set now, a dependable financial framework and provide continuity in the strategic direction for a long-term, successful future as an independent company.”
The jubilee will be marked in September at the company’s three German sites, Ingelheim, Biberach an der Riss and Dortmund with family celebrations for employees and their relatives. “In this way, we wish to thank all our employees most sincerely. They are and will in future remain Boehringer Ingelheim’s greatest asset,“ Christian Boehringer underlined.
The special value that the company attaches to its employees can also be seen in social contributions, some with a long history. Albert Boehringer established a company health insurance scheme as long ago as 1902; from 1910, every employee was given a 14-day paid annual holiday with subsidised travel costs, depending on how long they had been with the company. Today, the company shows its responsibility towards its employees with measures to improve their work-life balance, for example providing crèches at the Ingelheim and Biberach an der Riss locations as well as flexible working hours without core working times. In addition, more than 100 different part time options, and the opportunity to switch to tele-working, support employees in achieving harmony between their careers and families.
In promoting science Boehringer Ingelheim also has a long tradition that the company still maintains, according to Christian Boehringer. Last year, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation made EUR 100 million available to the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, to run an institute for molecular biology. The goal is cutting-edge research in Rhineland-Palatinate (the German state where the company is based) and giving scientists the opportunity to concentrate fully on their research.
Research and development drive the company
“All of us at Boehringer Ingelheim will celebrate the jubilee year with joy, as much has been achieved in these 125 years and – of equal importance – we stand at the beginning of a further phase of growth,“ said Professor Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors and responsible for the Corporate Board Division Pharma Research, Development and Medicine. “Boehringer Ingelheim the company is like its owner family: it distinguishes itself by long-term thinking and the will to persist as well as by the values of modesty and work ethic, all of which together have contributed to its longevity and shared success.“
Boehringer Ingelheim’s endeavour was and remains to research and develop innovative medicines for the treatment of diseases with an as yet unmet therapeutic need. With Viramune® Boehringer Ingelheim in 1996 brought to the market an HIV medication in a new class of active ingredient, thereby providing a new treatment option. Further examples of innovation are Sifrol®, available since 1997 for the symptomatic therapy of Parkinson’s disease, and Spiriva®, available since 2002 for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and today the most frequently prescribed COPD therapy worldwide. The proven blood pressure lowering medicine Micardis® is the only angiotensin receptor blocker in the world that has since 2009 been registered for reducing the risk of serious cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks.
Boehringer Ingelheim has always been a company strongly driven by research, explained Prof. Barner, and, despite difficult conditions, currently invests 21 percent of the net sales of its Prescription Medicines business directly in research and development.
In Hanover the company is currently constructing a European research centre for animal vaccines and thereby establishing a additional location in Germany
with the prospect of lasting jobs in research fit for the future.
Into to future with inquiring minds
Boehringer Ingelheim’s largest research site worldwide is Biberach an der Riss in the Upper Swabia region of Germany with 4,500 employees. There the company runs a large pharmaceutical research centre and one of the most innovative biotechnology centres in the world for researching, developing and producing biopharmaceuticals.
The active ingredient dabigatran etexilate was researched and developed in Biberach. This novel oral thrombin inhibitor has been on the market since 2008 under the brand name Pradaxa® for prevention of thrombo-embolism after knee or hip replacement operations. With Pradaxa®, for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, a true medical breakthrough can be seen. Securing international market authorisation in this indication is the next goal for dabigatran etexilate.
Boehringer Ingelheim continues to research: study data from large-scale, controlled clinical studies with thousands of patients contribute to improving medical knowledge and the treatment of the three most frequent causes of disease-related death – cardiovascular diseases, stroke and COPD. “Despite the difficult years 2010 and 2011, due to the loss of patents, the foundation for Boehringer Ingelheim’s future has been laid thanks to innovative research”, Prof. Barner emphasised. “Medicines from Boehringer Ingelheim in the therapeutic areas diabetes and oncology will also be available to physicians and patients in the next few years. We are entering new territory with confidence and the knowledge, in keeping with the company’s guiding principles, to serve humankind by researching, developing, producing and marketing new medicines.”
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