The discovery of a revolutionary molecule

Bracco's contrast agent that revolutioned diagnostic imaging

By Assolombarda

Bracco già Italmerck factory and headquarters, MilanAssolombarda

The beginning

1927, in Milan Elio Bracco establishes the Italian Prodotti E. Merck company. In 1930 the company becomes Italmerck Spa and the following year it builds a factory in Via Renato Fucini with a pentagonal floorplan, echoed in the geometric design of the Bracco logo more than thirty years later. In 1936, the Anonima Bracco company, already Italmerck is established.

The main entrance to the Bracco plant. 1960sAssolombarda

The start of research activities

In 1949 Bracco approves the project for the construction of a new factory in Milan (Lambrate), completed in 1953. Ten years later, the Lambrate facility has a surface area of 50,000 m2, of which 30,000 indoors, housing production lines and the new research labs, focused largely on chemotherapy and contrast agents for diagnostic radiology.

Laboratories. 1960sAssolombarda

Bracco factory. 1960sAssolombarda

Presentation to Professor Felder of the gold model of the Iopamidol molecule.Assolombarda

A revolutionary discovery

In 1962 Bracco researchers develop the first original contrast agent from their in-house research, with reduced toxicity and high tolerability: iodamide. By 1965 the company has operations worldwide; in 1966 Diana Bracco, daughter of the company chairman, joins the firm. Despite the difficulties experienced by the pharmaceuticals industry in the 1970s, Bracco intensifies its R&D work in imaging diagnostics, establishing itself in just a few years as a world leader in the production of second-generation non-ionic contrast agents. In 1981 sees the launch in Italy and Germany of Iopamidol, the first non-ionic contrast agent developed from Bracco research, with outstanding tolerability, whose stability means it can be stored in phials for unlimited periods of time.

B15000, the contrast agent that revolutionised diagnostic "imaging"Assolombarda

Chemical formula of the Iopamidol moleculeAssolombarda

Ernst Felder. 1980sAssolombarda

A genius of science

Professor Ernst Felder, a great scientist who played an essential role in the development of pharmaceutical research and in improving the health of millions of people, has died in Riva San Vitale (Ticino), where he lived with his wife. He is responsible for the discovery of two molecules which revolutionized the history of diagnostic imaging: Iodamide and Iopamidol, patented in 1974. Born 19 January 1920 in Zurich, Felder grew up in Oberrieden, a small rural village on the left bank of Lake Zurich. At school, he immediately showed an aptitude for the sciences which he then cultivated by studying chemistry at the university where he would become assistant to the world renowned professor, Gerold Schwarzenbach, himself a close collaborator of Professor Paul Karrer, who had won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry just a few years earlier. In 1949, a little over a year after marrying Elide, Cilag, the company where he was working, formed a partnership with Bracco in Milan and Felder moved to Italy where he went on to invent the new generations of contrast media. The development of these drugs were the result of a collaborative effort, with Felder, hired 1 October 1950, working closely with Fulvio Bracco and a team of experts, who created from scratch Bracco's R&D department. “We will be ever grateful,” commented the President Diana Bracco, following his passing on 6 April 2018.

Bracco's advertising postcard on contrast agents. 1960s, From the collection of: Assolombarda
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Bracco 2018 visual identity, ispired by the exhibition "The Beauty of imaging"Assolombarda

Diana Bracco, President and CEO Bracco GroupAssolombarda

A global leader in diagnostic imaging

Bracco is an international Group active in the healthcare sector and leader in the diagnostic imaging. It has around 3,450 employees and annual total consolidated revenues of around 1,25 billion euros, of which 87% from international sales. In the Research and Development area, the company invests approximately 9% of reference turnover in the imaging diagnostics and medical devices sectors and has a portfolio comprising over 1,800 patents. Since its foundation Bracco is a socially responsible company in each area of activity – in business as in every other context . The company is strongly committed to social, educational, environmental and cultural improvement and in the promotion of Gender Equality. From 2010, Bracco Group's social commitment is further reinforced through the work of the Bracco Foundation

Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, CEO Bracco ImagingAssolombarda

A complete portfolio for all diagnostic modalities

Bracco Imaging S.p.A. is the lead company in the Group’s core business of diagnostic imaging where Bracco, thanks to an extensive and innovative portfolio of products and solutions, the fruit of in-house research, boasts a leading position at a global level. The Group’s main products are contrast agents, medical substances used to improve the diagnostic accuracy of biomedical imaging and the care of patients affected by diseases of varying type and severity. Contrast agents are routinely and widely used in all diagnostic imaging modalities, such as radiographic procedures, including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and nuclear medicine.

Administration of contrast agentAssolombarda

A company of excellence

The Bracco diagnostic imaging offer is completed by several medical devices and advanced administration systems for contrast imaging products in the fields of cardiology and radiology, developed by Acist Medical Systems. The company, which was acquired by the Bracco Group in 2001, has its corporate headquarters, manufacture and R&D facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), with regional offices in Europe and Asia. Its advanced systems are used in over 40 countries in the most world-renowned centers. More than 15 million people around the world have had cardiovascular angiographic procedures using an ACIST system.

Laboratories of Bracco research centerAssolombarda

Research and innovation in DNA

Research and Development activities are concentrated in the laboratories in Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland), Monroe and Silicon Valley (United States) and Italy (Colleretto Giacosa). Each research centre has specialised experience and expertise at the absolute cutting edge in different imaging modalities and operates in synergy with the medical and regulatory departments, whose operations are located in Milan (Italy), Konstanz (Germany), Paris (France), Monroe and Long Island (United States), Montreal (Canada), Mexico City (Mexico), São Paulo (Brazil), Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan).

FlaconciniAssolombarda

Laboratories of Bracco research centerAssolombarda

Environmentally friendly production

Thanks to constant investment in operating processes, Bracco Imaging has reached levels of excellence in quality, in full compliance with all applicable regulations in every country where it operates, and with special attention paid to ecologically sustainable production. The production activities of Bracco Imaging are carried out in Italy (Ceriano Laghetto, Torviscosa and Colleretto Giacosa), Canada (Montreal), Switzerland (Geneva), Germany (Singen), Japan (Saitama) and China (Shanghai).

Magnetic resonancemachine and examinationAssolombarda

Microbubbles for ultrasoundAssolombarda

Bracco's Research & Innovation never stop

In the early years of 2000, the medical community was made available a contrast agent based on microbubbles and sulfur hexafluoride. The innovative microbubbles are dispersed in the entire organism safely and efficientely, allowing for otherwise impossible diagnoses. Bracco's Research & Innovation never stop

Flourescence-guided surgery and the futureAssolombarda

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