The German pharmacist who discovered aspirin,Felix hoffmannHe was born on January 21, 1868 in Ludwigsburg.
After finishing school, he initially aimed for a career as a pharmacist. His work in the field of pharmacy fascinated him so much that he decided to expand his knowledge by studying chemistry. In 1891 he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Munich. Two years later he obtained his doctorate, also magna cum laude, after completing his thesis entitled “On certain derivatives of dihydroanthracene“.
On the recommendation of the eventual Nobel laureate, Professor Adolf von Baeyer, with whom he had studied, joined “Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co.” in 1894 to work as a chemist in the chemical laboratory.
It was primarily by chance that he made a historically significant discovery on August 10, 1897. By acetylating salicylic acid with acetic anhydride, he succeeded in creating acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in a chemically pure and stable form. The pharmacologist responsible for verifying these results was skeptical at first, but the scope of this pharmaceutical marvel became clear once several large-scale studies were completed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of the substance:Hoffmannhe had discovered a pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory substance. The company then worked hard to develop a profitable production process that would allow the promising active ingredient to be supplied as a pharmaceutical product. In 1899 it was launched for the first time under the trade nameAspirin ™, initially as a powder supplied in glass bottles. Aspirin ™ has made Bayer’s name world famous like no other medicine.
Shortly after the synthesis of acetylsalicylic acid,Hoffmannhe was appointed head of the pharmaceutical marketing department. Two years later, he was granted a full power of attorney. When he retired in 1928, his discovery was already a worldwide success. However, the “inventor” of Aspirin ™ remained unknown to the international public. He lived in Switzerland out of the public eye until his death in 1946. Felix Hoffmann never married or had children.