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Timelines: 1944

Prev : Next Syntex Corporation

Entrepreneurial émigrés


George Rosenkranz

Syntex is founded in Mexico City by chemist Russell Marker and Emeric Solmo, the owner of Laboratorios Hormona. Their goal is to synthesize hormones from diosgenin, a plant steroid found in the wild Mexican yam. Marker and Solmo soon part ways after a dispute about Marker’s compensation, but the company is lucky — it is able to recruit a team of top-flight chemists from around the world, including Hungarian George Rosenkranz, Austrian Carl Djerassi, and Uruguayan Alejandro Zaffaroni. On the scientific and organizational strengths of this trio, Syntex builds a reputation for technical excellence in innovative research and development programs. The Mexican firm is the first pharmaceutical startup in decades to scale the industry’s towering barriers to entry and establish itself as a viable developer and manufacturer of new drugs. And it is the final new entrant to the field until thirty years later when advances in molecular biology generate opportunities for scientific entrepreneurs working in academic settings.

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