It was in 1954 that Jacques Servier, Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Pharmacy, then aged thirty, took over a pharmaceutical production company with nine employees, in Orléans, France. Today it is France’s leading independent pharmaceutical company, and the no. 2 French pharmaceutical company in the world, with 21,400 employees in 146 countries. Jacques Servier was able to undertake this extraordinary adventure because of his love of the profession, his "faith" in research, his sound analysis of the needs of others, his drive to develop and share, in short, his incredible life force.

Here in a few lines and words is the company’s story:

  • In 1954, take-over of a small pharmaceutical production company in Orléans.
  • One year later, the company launched its first two drugs (an antihypertensive and an antidiabetic).
  • In 1956, the first production unit was built at Fleury-les-Aubrais.
  • Stimulated by research, growth gathered pace over the years.
  • In 1960, the Servier Research Center opened in Suresnes.
  • In 1962, modernization of the first industrial chemistry group at Bolbec, in Normandy.
  • In 1964, international development began with the opening of the first subsidiary, in London.
  • In 1972, construction in the Loiret of the Gidy “factory-village”, which becomes the group’s social showcase.
  • 1975-1980: first presence in North America, Latin America, China, and Russia.
  • In 1984, the first International Center for Therapeutic Research (ICTR), in London.
  • In 1988, Scrip named Servier as the world’s most creative pharma company.
  • In 1989, 1000 researchers employed at its research and development center.
  • In 1990, the first drug manufacturing plant outside France opened at Arklow in Ireland.
  • In 1994, the second Servier Research Center opened in Croissy.
  • In 1995, the first external growth operation, with acquisition of 51% of the capital of Egis Pharmaceutical, a Hungarian pharma company.
  • In 1996, inauguration of the Gidy Clinical Supplies Unit, the largest in Europe.
  • In 1997, the second external growth operation, with the acquisition of Anpharm in Poland.
  • In 2001, the 10thICTR opened in Brazil, quickly followed by ICTRs in Poland and China.
  • In 2002, Servier was awarded the Galien Prize, in recognition of its creativity in research.
  • Still in 2002, the Servier subsidiary created in 1996 as a generic drug producer was relaunched as Biogaran, and by 2003 was the generic market leader in France.
  • In 2003, drug manufacturing plants were opened at Tianjin in China and Nouasseur in Morocco.
  • The same year, Servier became the largest pharmaceutical group in Russia. Over 15,000 collaborators are employed worldwide.
  • In 2006, Servier inaugurated at Gidy-Orléans a new drug production unit with a  floor area of 35,000 square meters.

Servier contributes 57% of France’s trade balance in the pharmaceutical sector, and is the world’s 25th largest pharmaceutical company, flying the flag for France in Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and China, continuing to invest in France, favored partner of Inserm, CNRS, and the Institut Curie, with 92% of its original drugs sold outside France.

Eds: Life Through Discovery. Jacques Servier in debate with Jacques Marseille. Perrin.