Merz Turns 110 and Continues its Success Story
110 years ago, on March 9, 1908, Friedrich Merz founded the Chemische Fabrik Merz & Co. in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Today, the traditional company in Frankfurt is still family-owned, but it has evolved from a mid-sized pharmaceutical company into a leading global provider in the fields of medical aesthetics and neurotoxins.
“In the past 110 years, Merz has continued to reinvent itself and has successfully built new businesses again and again,” CEO Philip Burchard comments on the history of the company. According to Philip Burchard, the impetus for this flexibility is the innovative strength displayed by the company founder, which has become the guiding principle of the business. “We are still indebted to Friedrich Merz’s legacy today.” Born in 1884 in the town of Groß-Bieberau in the German Odenwald mountain range, Merz had the following motto: “Trust yourself, be different, and invent products that are truly needed.”
Especially in comparison to ten years ago when Merz celebrated its 100th anniversary, the company has undergone significant changes. At that time, Merz still considered itself a classical pharmaceutical company; nowadays it is one of the leading companies worldwide in the area of medical aesthetics and offers an unparalleled product portfolio which extends from fillers and a particularly pure botulinum neurotoxin to an ultrasound lifting procedure and a pioneering cellulite treatment. As a provider of specialty treatments for neurologically induced movement disorders, Merz has also been able to strengthen its position. These fields of business are accompanied by successful regional products from the Merz Consumer Care division which offers over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.
The two core business areas Aesthetics and Neurotoxins now generate over 60% of product sales. The prospects for the current fiscal year 2017/18 are positive. “In the first half year, we have a lot of momentum,” Burchard says. The technical difficulties with the two medical devices Ultherapy and Cellfina, which led to a slight decrease in sales in the past fiscal year, have now been resolved.
Continuous development of new business fields
In Merz’s 110-year history, there are several examples showing how the company developed new business fields time and time again: from the local contraceptive Patentex, which Merz brought to market in 1911 against the opposition of the empire and the church, to the famous Merz Spezial Dragees of the 1960s and the new pharmaceutical drugs of the 1970s such as a medicine against Parkinson’s, a drug to decrease blood lipid levels, and a gel for treatment of herpes.
With the market launch of Memantine, the first drug worldwide for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s-induced dementia, Merz continued its success story in Pharmaceuticals in 2002. It was particularly due to Dr. Jochen Hückmann, grandson of the company founder and himself a long-time leader of the business, that the development of the Alzheimer’s drug was promoted. For a long time, this product accounted for over half of Group revenue.
In 2012, Merz ushered in a new era of company history: Merz decided to focus more and more on Aesthetics and Neurotoxins and finally gave up Alzheimer’s research when patents expired and generics emerged on the market. In addition, a series of acquisitions were made in Aesthetics, non-strategic businesses were sold, and Merz’s international presence was strengthened by the establishment of further branch offices.
“It’s not an anniversary in the classical sense, but we will celebrate our company’s 110th birthday with our 3,000 employees worldwide,” announced Philip Burchard.
With approximately 3,000 employees and 34 subsidiaries worldwide, Merz is a global leader in Aesthetics and Neurotoxins. Privately held for more than 100 years, the company is distinguished by its in-house research and development, solid financial strength and continuous growth. Complementing its unique portfolio of products for minimally invasive and non-invasive skin rejuvenation and tightening, Merz also develops neurotoxin therapy for the treatment of movement disorders. Skincare products and a range of OTC medicines are also included in offerings from the company, which is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. In fiscal year 2016/17, the Merz Pharma Group generated revenue of EUR 1,023.2 million. More information is available at www.merz.com.
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