Stories of Innovation

The entrepreneur
and the scientist

The friendship between Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder at the beginning of a great Made in Italy achievement in the Life Sciences
Read story

“Well, what do you say?” “Yes, great, president, I really think we’re on the right track.” “Keep going, then! Keep going!” In this dialogue between Fulvio Bracco, son of the founder, Elio, and Professor Ernst Felder, chemist and head of research at Bracco, there is all the passion for innovation and the discovery that made the Italian Group a world leader in the field of contrast agents for medical diagnostics.

In the history of the development of contrast agents, a huge contribution came from the fruitful bond between these two key figures of entrepreneur and scientist, who together wrote an important chapter of this discipline, so essential to prevention and to people’s health. “I have always greatly admired Felder, for his chemical genius,” wrote Fulvio Bracco in his memoirs, “and I have a deep fondness for him, which has grown over the years of dedication to the work, which united us. He was an exceptional collaborator and a loyal friend. I have always had brilliant people in the company – I don’t know if I am lucky or skilled in choosing personnel. I have always cared for all those who worked closely with me.”

Ernst Felder and Fulvio Bracco being greeted in India during a business trip, 1964
Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder, 1988
Researcher at work in the laboratories of Bracco Industria Chimica in Milano Lambrate, 1960s

We are in the 1960s, and the new research laboratories are run by Ernst Felder. Following years and years of research, monthly meetings, and company policy decisions, in the early ’70s Bracco scientists create the first contrast agent, which their leader, Fulvio, has been chasing for some time: Iopamidol (B15000). Its success is immediate, and production must be rapidly increased. A decision is made: everyone will work round the clock for three months, in eight-hour shifts including Sundays. The invention of Professor Felder and Fulvio Bracco is a true breakthrough and becomes the international gold standard. It is an impressive Made in Italy achievement, in a technologically cutting-edge sector such as the Life Sciences – a real source of pride for a family-run business from our country. From that moment on, research and growth at the Group have never stopped: “Keep going, then! Keep going!”

The passage through the human body of Iopamidol, a product resulting from Bracco research. Watch the video produced in 1991.
Professor Felder talks about his meeting with Fulvio Bracco and his arrival at the company.
Browse through the gallery of this story
Documents and images from the Bracco Historical Archives
Experimental protocol for B 15000 (Iopamidol), 1975
Fulvio and Diana Bracco meet Professor Ernst Felder on Fulvio’s 90th birthday, 1999
Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder, 1988
Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder, 1988
Ernst Felder and Fulvio Bracco at latter’s 90th birthday, 1999
Ernst Felder during a lecture on Iopamidol, 1988
Marcel Leclerc, Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder on a business trip to India, 1964
Ernst Felder and Fulvio Bracco being greeted in India during a business trip, 1964
Ernst Felder and Fulvio Bracco at the Third International Iopamidol Symposium, Washington, 20-21 May 1988
Researcher at work in the laboratories of Bracco Industria Chimica in Milano Lambrate, 1960s
Brochure advertising Bracco contrast media, 1960s
Proprietary medicine manufacturing works at the Bracco plant of Milano Lambrate, 1960s
Glass-blowing division of the Bracco plant of Milano Lambrate, 1960s
Fulvio Bracco and Ernst Felder on a business trip to India, 1964
BRACCO STORIES

Show other stories of Innovation

Inaugurazione mostra ‘The Beauty of imaging’
Stories of Innovation
When “CAT” turns “POP”
The "Beauty of Imaging": an exhibition that explains the importance of Röntgen's diagnostics for predictive medicine through the language of art
COVER_BN_FB DB EF copia
Stories of Innovation
Iopamidolo Revolution
From Professor Felder's molecule to the products for different modalities in diagnostic imaging - because research never stops

Discover over 10,000 documents

And more besides.
Carry out in-depth research into letters, photographs, patents, scientific studies and much more