Sandoz is a division of the Novartis Group and a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. The division was established in 2003 when Novartis united all of its generics businesses under the name Sandoz. Since then, Sandoz has grown into a leading global generics business with USD 9.7 billion sales in 2019.
The brand can trace its origins to a small chemical company that came into being in Basel, Switzerland, in 1886. Kern & Sandoz, as the company was initially called, focused on the production of dyes. However, within a decade it produced its first pharmaceutical substance, antipyrine, a fever-controlling agent. By 1917, the company had established its first pharmaceutical department and, in 1929, Calcium Sandoz was introduced, laying the foundation for modern calcium therapy. Calcium Sandoz went on to establish itself as one of the company’s best known products.
Sandoz’ globally leading anti-infectives and biosimilars businesses can trace their origins back to the work done at Biochemie in the 1940s and 1950.
In 1939, Kern & Sandoz became Sandoz Ltd., a name it operated under for nearly sixty years. Meanwhile, across the border in 1946 post-war Austria, a company called Biochemie was founded to produce and supply scarce, urgently needed penicillin. Two researchers from Biochemie in 1951 discovered acid-resistant penicillin, which meant that for the first time, penicillin could be administered orally. The discovery drove the further development and rapid growth of the company.
In 1963, Sandoz acquired Biochemie GmbH, representing the beginning of large-scale production of antibiotics and substances developed on the basis of biotechnology. Sandoz remains a global leader and is continuing its legacy as the world’s second largest producer of antibiotics. Over the course of the 20th century, the Sandoz brand grew consistently and came to enjoy international recognition. In 1996, the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy led to the creation of Novartis. The Sandoz brand became dormant for a few years, but did not lose its name recognition, and in 2003, when Novartis united its global generics businesses under a single global brand, the name Sandoz was reestablished.
From its roots in 19th century Basel, the Sandoz brand has been transformed into a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Today, as a division of the Novartis Group, we offer approximately 1 000 molecules covering a broad range of therapeutic areas. In 2020, our products reached an approximately 500 million patients and our aspiration is to reach one billion. 1