Felix Hoffmann was born January 21, 1868 in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
In 1889, he started studying chemistry before changing to pharmacy at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich. Felix graduated magna cum laude in 1891 before earning his doctorate, also magna com laude, after completing his thesis entitled “On certain derivatives of dihydroanthracene.”
Then in 1894, he joined theGerman company Bayer as a research chemist.
In 1895, Felix Hoffmann became the first to create a stable version of Diacetylmorphine or Heroin for Bayer.
Felix Hoffman then sought to find an alternate way to treat arthritis without utilizing sodium salicylate, the standard anti-arthritis drug of the time. Sodium salicylate irritated the stomach lining and caused patients considerable pain and irritation.
Salicylic acide, the active ingredient of Aspirin was first discovered from the bark of the willow tree in 1763 by Edward Stone of Wadham College, Oxford University.
This led Felix to synthesize acetylsalicylic acid on August 10, 1897, a compound that shared the therapeutic properties of other salicylates lacked the strong acidity that he believed caused stomach irritations.
The Bayer pharmacologist responsible for verifying Felix Hoffmann’s results was skeptical at first, yet once several large-scale studies to investigate the substance’s efficacy and tolerability had been completed, it was found that Hoffmann had discovered a pain-relieving, fever-lowering and anti-inflammatory substance.
Bayer then worked to develop a cost-effective production process that would facilitate the promising active ingredient to be supplied as a pharmaceutical product.
Then on March 6, 1899, Bayer marketed the product for the first time under the trade name Aspirin. Aspirin was the old botanical name for the salicylic acid meadowsweet or Spiraea ulmaria.
Initially Bayer sold Aspirin as a powder supplied in glass bottles.
Following his synthesis of aspirin, Felix Hoffmann moved to the pharmaceutical marketing department of Bayer, where he stayed until his retirement in 1928.
He was granted full power of attorney, over Aspirin.
Felix never married and died without issue on February 8, 1946 in Switzerland.
After World War II ended, the Jewish chemist Arthur Eichengrün claimed that he had been the lead research chemist and that the records of his contribution had been expunged under the Nazi regime, however, Bayer still gives credit to Felix Hoffmann.
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