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BASF is one of the world’s biggest chemical companies – and evidently a clear favorite with readers of The Medicine Maker! The company was founded in 1865 as Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik in Mannheim, Germany.

BASF has a long history of innovation. One example is the development of PVP. The company says, “More than 80 years ago, the chemists of our Ludwigshafen plant in Germany mastered acetylene-chemistry to produce – in just five steps – a new monomer called N-vinylpyrrolidone. According to a 1939 patent by BASF chemist Walter Reppe, vinyl pyrrolidone reacted in the presence of catalysts to form the polymer we now know as poly vinylpyrrolidone – or PVP. This initial application data regarded PVP as an additive in the textile industry due to its great affinity to dyes, and as a binder and thickening agent.”

During this same time, the Second World War was ramping up and access to blood plasma in Germany was extremely difficult. By the end of 1940, BASF’s Kollidon PVP gained its first medicinal application as a synthetic blood plasma substitute. Its use was simple: Kollidon was combined with water and inorganic salts and used in intravenous infusions. The higher the PVP content, the greater its efficacy in maintaining blood volume. The application was patented in 1941 by Walter Reppe and researchers from Bayer pharmacological laboratories.

Today, the company offers APIs such as ibuprofen, L-menthol and omega-3, as well as excipients for biopharma, parenterals, orals, topicals, and solubilization applications. The company also boasts an enormous chemical raw materials portfolio including catalysts, reagents, solvents, chiral auxiliaries, building blocks, and more.

Key facts

Global headquarters: Ludwigshafen, Germany

Number of employees: 111,047 (as of December 2021)

Sales revenue in 2021: 78.6 billion euros

Recent news:

Jeffrey DeAlmeida appointed to role of Senior Vice President, Pharma Solutions and Nutrition & Health Americas

Company reaffirms ambitious climate targets, including goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent (compared with 2018) by 2030


Honorable mentions: Teva Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients; Pfizer CentreOne

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