In 1866, the 26-year-old pharmacist Dr. Willmar Schwabe laid the cornerstone for the success of his company: he founded a "manufacturing facility for dispensing medicines." His goal was to research and produce premium medicines at a standardized and consistent quality.
Hamamelis Extract is going to market
Dr. Schwabe published his Pharmacopoeia Homoeopathica Polyglottica in German, English and French. This reference work was the predecessor of what is now the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and the homeopathic section of the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.). In the same year, a witch-hazel extract was first marketed as a phytopharmaceutical product. Over time it evolved into Hametum® ointment.
New facility in Leipzig
The company, which had grown to a staff of 300 employees, moved into a new facility in the Paunsdorf neighbourhood of Leipzig. Greenhouses and fields for medicinal plants were also established there. By that time, Schwabe was present all around the globe, including the Indian subcontinent as well as the Transvaal (now part of South Africa), Brazil and Mexico.-
Crataegutt® - strength for the heart
The hawthorn-leaf product Crataegutt® was marketed. It contained a standardised hawthorn extract and served as a pioneer in terms of how research was conducted on other herbal special extracts.
The site in Karlsruhe-Durlach was opened
Especially at its new site in Karlsruhe-Durlach, from 1945 onward the company focussed more and more on research and development of phytopharmaceuticals which fulfilled the standards of western medicine. In the years that followed, Schwabe built new buildings for administration, research and production.
Foundation of the DHU
Deutsche Homöopathie-Union (DHU) was established as an independent company within the Schwabe Group. To this day it specialises in developing, manufacturing and distributing homeopathic drugs. The company Dr. Willmar Schwabe Arzneimittel concentrated on research and development of phytopharmaceuticals.
EGb 761® - the beginning of a success story
Tebonin® liquidum was marketed. It was followed in 1967 by Tebonin® film-coated tablets as well as Tebonin® sustained-release film-coated tablets. The ginkgo special extract EGb 761® in Tebonin® is now considered the world's most thoroughly researched and best-documented herbal extract.
Premium-quality raw materials
At a site near Karlsruhe, Schwabe began organically growing the medicinal plants needed to manufacture its proprietary products. Terra Medica, as the area is called, has been organically certified since 1998. But: In 1979, the Schwabe company was already been awarded the “Silver Plant” by the Foundation for the Protection of Endangered Plants for its endeavours to cultivate protected plant species. The visitor centre embedded in the complex was nominated for the Baden Architecture Prize in 2022.
Expanding the company's international role
Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Schwabe (left), who studied business, and Dr. Klaus-Peter Schwabe, a trained biochemist, became members of the company's senior management in 1976 and 1977. In 1986, Norbert Keller was appointed to the executive board as well. From that time onward, Dr. Willmar Schwabe Arzneimittel gradually became today's globally active Schwabe Group by founding companies as well as acquiring other businesses and becoming shareholders.
Portfolio expanded horizontally thanks to nutritional supplements
In 2003, the Schwabe Group's portfolio expanded horizontally. The business sectors of phytopharmaceuticals and homeopathic drugs grew to include premium-quality nutritional supplements, which were distributed in North America only until 2021
Olaf Schwabe becomes CEO of the Schwabe Group
In 2016, Olaf Schwabe, the great-great grandson of the company founder Dr. Willmar Schwabe, took on leadership of the corporate group. As the CEO, Olaf Schwabe is also the head of a four-member Group Executive Team (GET) which is responsible for the Group’s global strategy and its business management. The other members of the GET are Dr. Anke Balzer, Patrick Krauth and Joachim Thole.
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