Bayer AG history, profile and history video
Bayer AG is a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. Its core competencies are in the life science fields of healthcare and nutrition.
Bayer’s history started with a friendship and two kitchen stoves. Businessman Friedrich Bayer and dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott conducted experiments and eventually discovered how to make the dye fuchsine.
Bayer was founded in 1863 as the “Friedr. Bayer et. comp.” company in Wuppertal-Barmen, by dye salesman Friedrich Bayer and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott. Initially, the company focused on the manufacturing and selling of synthetic dyestuffs.
In 1881, Bayer was transformed into a joint stock company called “Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co.”.
Between 1881 and 1914, Bayer developed into a chemical company with international operations.
In 1898, Bayer trademarked the name heroin for the drug diacetylmorphine and sold it as a cough suppressant and non-addictive substitute for morphine.
In 1899, Bayer patented and launched one of its best-known products, Aspirin, the compound acetylsalicylic acid. The acetylsalicylic acid was originally made from a chemical found in the bark of willow trees.
Bayer also introduced the first widely used antibiotic (phenobarbital; prontosil) and the subject of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Medicine; the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin); and Yaz (drospirenone) birth control pills. Other commonly known products initially commercialized by Bayer include polyurethanes and polycarbonates.
During World War I, the company was largely cut off from its major export markets. It was integrated into the war economy and began to produce war materials, including explosives and chemical weapons.
In 1925, Bayer and five other German companies merged to form the Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG, or I.G. Farben for short, which became the world’s largest chemical and pharmaceutical company. Besides the Leverkusen, Dormagen and Elberfeld sites, the I.G.’s Lower Rhine operating consortium also includes the site in Uerdingen.
During World War II, the Lower Rhine operating consortium’s sites were vital to the war effort and the German economy, and the economic benefits for I.G. Farben were huge.
In 1945, the Allied Forces confiscated the I.G. Farben and placed all its sites under the control of Allied officers. The company was dissolved, and its assets were made available for war reparations.
In 1951, IG Farben was split into new companies, and Bayer was reincorporated as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG in the Federal Republic of Germany. Bayer allocated the Leverkusen, Dormagen, Elberfeld and Uerdingen sites, and it also assigned Agfa (Aktiengesellschaft für Fotofabrikation) as a subsidiary.
As a result of World War II, Bayer, for the second time, lost its foreign assets, and its reconstruction was closely linked with the Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle,” in the Federal Republic of Germany. By the 1950s, the company was allowed to acquire foreign affiliates as well.
In 1957, Bayer joined with Deutsche BP to found Erdölchemie GmbH in Dormagen, thus successfully entering the petrochemical sector.
In 1974, the company acquired Cutter Laboratories Inc. in the U.S.
In 1978, Miles Laboratories Inc. was acquired in the U.S.
In 1986, the company acquired Hermann C. Starck GmbH, a supplier of specialty metals and high-performance ceramics.
In 1988, Bayer AG became the first German company to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In 1990, Bayer acquired Toronto-based Polysar Rubber Corporation in Canada, making Bayer the world’s biggest supplier of raw materials for the rubber industry. It was the most significant acquisition in the company’s history up to that point.
In 1994, the company acquired the North American self-medication business of Sterling Winthrop. This transaction allowed the company to regain the rights to the “Bayer” company name in the United States.
In 1995, the U.S.-based Miles Inc. was renamed Bayer Corporation.
In 1998, Bayer Group acquired the Hawley business, the largest manufacturer of Iron Oxide pigments in the world, marketed under the Bayferrox® trade name.
In 2000, the company acquired the polyols business of Lyondell Chemical Company in the U.S., making Bayer the world’s biggest producer of raw materials for polyurethanes
In 2001, Bayer acquired Aventis CropScience, becoming a world leader in crop protection.
In 2002, Bayer CropScience AG was launched.
In 2003, the subgroups Bayer Chemicals AG, Bayer HealthCare AG, and Bayer MaterialScience AG, and the service companies Bayer Technology Services GmbH, Bayer Business Services GmbH and Bayer Industry Services GmbH & Co. OHG gained legal independence as part of the reorganization of the Bayer Group.
In 2005, Bayer acquired the Roche consumer health business, becoming one of the world’s largest suppliers of nonprescription medicines.
In 2005, Lanxess AG was also spun off from the Bayer Group, continuing Bayer’s chemicals business and parts of its polymers business.
In 2006, Bayer took over Schering AG, which was later renamed Bayer Schering Pharma AG.
In 2007, the company sold the Diagnostics Division of Bayer HealthCare to Siemens AG, Munich.
In 2009, Bayer CropScience acquired Athenix Corp., a U.S. biotechnology company.
In March 2014, the company strengthened its oncology business by acquiring Algeta.
In October 2014, the consumer care business of US-based Merck & Co., Inc. was acquired.
In November 2014, the company strengthened its Consumer Care business by acquiring Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. in China.
In December 2014, Bayer CropScience acquired Land Management assets of DuPont Crop Protection in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.
In 2015, Bayer MaterialScience started operating under the name Covestro, and was listed on the stock market.
In 2016, Bayer and Monsanto signed a binding merger agreement. In order to receive regulatory approval, Bayer agreed to divest some of its current agricultural assets to BASF. Bayer closed the acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.
In 2018, the company concluded the process of selling Covestro.
In 2019, the company announced the sale of its Animal Health business to the U.S.-based company Elanco Animal Health.
In 2020, the company acquired the U.S. company Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) and launched a new platform for cell and gene therapy within the Pharmaceuticals Division.
In 2021, the company strengthened its drug discovery platform by acquiring Vividion Therapeutics.
In November 2021, Bayer and Microsoft entered into a strategic partnership, developing a new cloud-based digital platforms and solutions.
In 2022, Bayer announced the sale of its Environmental Science Professional business to Cinven.
The company operates through the following business segments: Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Crop Science, and Animal Health.
The Pharmaceuticals product portfolio focuses on prescription products, radiology, and specialty therapeutics in the areas of oncology, hematology and ophthalmology.
The Consumer Health segment contains mainly non-prescription products in the following categories: dermatology, nutritionals, analgesics, digestive health, allergy, cough and cold, and cardiovascular risk prevention.
The Crop Science segment focuses on high-value seeds or innovative chemical and biological pest management solutions.
The Animal Health segment offers products for farm animals or companion animals.
With more than 103,000 employees, Bayer AG is considered one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. According to Forbes, it is considered one of the top 2000 largest public companies in the world and one of the Top Regarded Companies.
*Information from Forbes.com, Wikipedia.org, and ”www.bayer.com”.
**Video published on YouTube by “Bayer Global“.