On the 1 June, the Italian E. Merck Products Company – S.A., based in Piazzale Susa, 10, in Milan, was established. Elio Bracco was named as Chief Executive Officer and Director.
Article 2 of the articles of association stated that: ‘the company’s objectives are the production, packaging, and direct or indirect trading of chemical and related E. Merck products’.
The company’s activities began on 1 June with five employees, a number which grew to 17 by the end of the year. The first product list, with 20 specialised products, was also released.
On 23 November, the new factory in Via Renato Fucini 2 in Milan was built, with a pentagonal floorplan, which would serve as inspiration for the Bracco logo more than thirty years later.
Doctor Fulvio Bracco joined the company on 1 October.
This is the year in which a product destined to become famous was put on the market: Cebion, an innovative vitamin C-based medicine that had recently been discovered by Hungarian professor Albert Szent-Györgyi.
The company fell on hard times with the advent of the Second World War, especially from 1942.
Despite these difficulties, the salaries of employees that were enlisted continued to be paid to their families. In 1943, two large bombs fell on the factory, causing serious damage, which was repaired following a month of intensive works.
1946 - 1947
An assistance fund for factory and office workers was created, aimed at helping employees in need, as well as their families and children through subsidies, temporary support, camps at the seaside and in the mountains, and other social initiatives.
In 1947, the Società per azioni Bracco già Italmerck was formed.
In August, Bracco began collaborating with professor Ernst Felder, head of research, who would soon become one of the key figures in the company’s history.
The company began to assume the true form of a modern industrial complex.
Bracco, formerly Italmerck, celebrated its 25th anniversary. To mark the occasion, scholarships were established in memory of Nina Bracco Salata, the wife of Elio Bracco. The scholarships were awarded to recent Istrian-Dalmatian graduates from Italian universities in the fields of Natural Sciences, Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Pharmacy and Medicine who had completed outstanding degree theses.
Construction works for the large industrial factory in Milan (Lambrate) were completed, covering a surface area of 50,000 m², 30,000 of which indoors, housing production lines and new research facilities. The Bracco laboratories began conducting research, primarily focused on chemotherapy, with particular attention directed towards iodinated contrast agents for diagnostic radiology imaging.
1958 - 1960
The company Industria Chimica Dr Fulvio Bracco incorporated the public limited company S.A. Bracco formerly Italmerck, giving rise to Bracco Industria Chimica Spa.
In the early Sixties, the Bracco company started going global, with more than 50 operations worldwide, a facility in Brazil (Bracco Novotheràpica Laboratòrios in San Paolo), a facility in the small city of Tlanepantla-Edo close to the capital Mexico City (Albamex Bracco S.A., then Bracco de Mexico), and the research and testing institute in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
Bracco researchers created the first original contrast agent, iodamide: with a reduced toxicity, the molecule guaranteed an overall increased tolerability.
Headed by Tullio Bracco, the first edition of the company newsletter for employees, Notiziario Bracco, came out in March-April.
1975 - 1977
Fulvio Bracco and his friend Sergio Chiappa, head physician at Fatebenefratelli Hospital, broke new ground in the field of community care: the Centro Diagnostico Italiano (CDI).
On 17 March 1977, ten years after joining the company, Diana Bracco was appointed General Manager.
During that same year, important contractual relationships were established in the international arena.
Staff levels at Bracco Industria Chimica Spa on 31 December 1977 were: 429 factory workers, 49 foremen, 506 office staff, and 28 managers, amounting to a total of 1,010 employees.
By the second half of the 1980s, Bracco Spa was the leading producer of non-ionic contrast agents at a global level.
In 1981, the company launched Iopamidol in Italy and Germany – the first ready for use non-ionic contrast agent, developed from research conducted by Bracco. It boasted outstanding tolerability and a stability that meant it could be stored in phials for unlimited periods of time.
Bracco opened a large new production facility in Ceriano Laghetto, close to Milan, which covered 300,000 m². Raw materials for pharmaceutical use were produced on site, especially contrast agents for medical imaging.
In November, an important agreement with Eisai Co. Ltd. was signed in Tokyo, establishing a joint venture with Japan’s fifth biggest pharmaceutical company.
Bracco’s global expansion continued with the acquisition of Squibb Diagnostics, a company within the Bristol Myers Squibb Inc. Group and a pioneer in the field of medical diagnostics, and the founding of Bracco Diagnostics Inc. and Bracco Research USA.
Over the course of the year, the joint venture company Bracco-Byk Gulden GmbH based in Konstanz began operations, marketing contrast agents in Germany, France, the Benelux countries, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland.
The three research centres in Milan, Geneva and Princeton became increasingly integrated. The research centre in Milan focused on the research and development of contrast agents for radiology and MRI; Bracco Research Geneva turned its attention to researching new products for medical imaging, with a particular focus on contrast agents used in ultrasound scanning and controlled drug and contrast agent delivery technologies; and Bracco Research USA Princeton was designated as the main centre for research on MRI contrast agents and nuclear medicine.
1996 - 1997
In October, a fourth-generation family member, Dr Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, joined the company’s management team.
That same year, a branch of Bracco Diagnostics Inc. USA, Bracco Diagnostics Inc. Canada, opened.
The following year, Bracco Imaging BV based in Plan-les-Ouates (Geneva) was founded. The company, now Bracco Suisse, specialises in the field of contrast agents for ultrasound scanning.
1999 marked a milestone for the company. After lengthy and complicated negotiations, the Bracco family bought Merk’s 50% share in the group’s imaging and pharmaceutical operations, making it 100% Italian owned. The agreement allowed the company to focus on its core business, medical imaging, boosting its competitiveness and consolidating the Bracco Group’s position as a global player.
A new product that was conceived of in the Bracco research laboratories in Geneva and developed in the world’s leading ultrasound research centres – the second-generation Sulphur hexafluoride contrast agent – was launched.
Bracco UK Limited was opened that same year for imagining operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, along with Bracco Far East Ltd., based in Hong Kong, and Bracco Sine Pharmaceutical Corp. Ltd. based in Shanghai.
The American company from Minneapolis at the forefront of advanced contrast agent administration systems, ACIST Medical Systems, joined the Bracco Group. ACIST Medical Systems is currently a global leader in contrast agent injection systems for cardiology, radiology, and diagnostic and interventional purposes.
The CRB – Bracco Research Centre was opened within the Bioindustry Park Silvano Fumero in Colleretto Giacosa, which focuses primarily on the initial discovery phase of new molecules and new sustainable processes (new forms of packaging). In conjunction with research activities, the centre also produces significant amounts of contrast media.
The considerable works conducted to reclaim the Bracco Group’s new production site in Torviscosa, in the province of Udine, came to a close in April. With the opening of SPIN, the Bracco Group breathed new life into a historically important industrial site of the 1930s located in a beautiful lagoon area, strategic for its central position at the heart of Europe. It serves as a perfect example of the integration of industry and territory.
On the 6 June, the technologically advanced Bracco Sine facility in the high-tech area of Pudong, China, was inaugurated. The facility focuses on the final production phases of contrast agents and produces non-ionic contrast media for X-ray, MRI, and ultrasound imaging.
E-Z-EM, Inc., a leading manufacturer of contrast agents and medical products for all the main diagnostic gastrointestinal radiology (GI) modalities, became part of the Bracco Group.
The Bracco Foundation was created in February, with Diana Bracco as President and Gemma Bracco as Vice-president. The foundation, which is regularly involved in important cultural, scientific, and social projects, has its roots in the legacy of values cultivated by the Bracco Family and Group over the course of more than 80 years of history.
Bracco Imaging Scandinavia AB was opened for commercial operations in Scandinavia.
In May, the Group acquired Nycomed’s contrast media manufacturing facilities in Singen near Konstanz; this acquisition allowed the Bracco Group to keep a considerable part of its production in-house, further cementing the Group’s presence in Germany.
That July, Bracco Imaging bought Swiss Medical Care (SMC), a Swiss company based in Lausanne, known today as Bracco Injeneering, active in the research, production, and marketing of automatic contrast agent delivery systems for medical imaging.
The company also opened Bracco Imaging Slovakia for commercial operations in Slovakia, Bracco Imaging Polska for commercial operations in Poland, and Bracco Imaging Czech for commercial operations in the Czech Republic.
Bracco strengthened its presence in Latin America with the acquisitions of Justesa Argentina, Justesa Imagen do Brasile and Justesa Messico (important contrast agent distribution companies active throughout Latin America), as well as in Silicon Valley with Medical Instruments.
ACIST Medical Systems, the Minnesota-based American company that was bought by Bracco in 2001, inaugurated its new European headquarters.
The Pharma division of the Bracco Group became part of the Italian Biopharmaceutical Group led by Sergio Dompé. The agreement is the climax of an all-Italian industrial project that promotes the values and traditions of two prestigious companies that have helped to write important pages in the history of Italian pharmaceuticals.
The Bracco Gruppo and Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding renewed the Bracco-Sine Joint Venture Partnership until 2037.
In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bracco Group, the Municipality of Cesano Maderno named the street in front of the Bracco Imaging production plant in memory of Fulvio Bracco, recipient of the Order of Merit for Labour (Cavaliere del Lavoro).
Bracco Imaging expanded its portfolio, moving into Personalised Diagnostics with the acquisition of Blue Earth Diagnostics, a molecular imaging company based in Oxford (UK). The company significantly enhances Bracco’s portfolio in precision medicine and personalised diagnostics, while also expanding its range of nuclear oncology imaging solutions in the Urology segment and other specialities.
The 30th anniversary of Bracco Suisse was celebrated with the laying of the foundation stone of a new facility in Geneva, designed to be a multipurpose building that would enlarge the site, doubling its manufacturing capacity. In conjunction with the R&D centre, the facility represents one of the Bracco Group’s key assets.
Blue Earth Diagnostics expanded its portfolio, enhancing its oncology portfolio by acquiring a license for an exclusive radiopharmaceutical therapeutic technology (theranostics).
Bracco Imaging launches a new subsidiary, Blue Earth Therapeutics, to develop next generation radiopharmaceutical technologies for use in oncology. The creation of Blue Earth Therapeutics marks an exciting new direction for Bracco, aimed at addressing important unmet needs of patients around the world.
In this same year, Bracco Imaging signed a global collaboration agreement with Guerbet on Gadopiclenol, an investigational gadolinium-based macrocyclic contrast agent (GBCA).