The history of Novartis started in the middle of the 18th century. The companies that later formed Novartis first produced synthetic dyes. They then turned to chemicals and eventually focused on pharmacies. Novartis, as we know it today, was founded in 1996 by the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz.
The history of Novartis combines the fate of these three companies:
Geigy - dealing in chemicals and dyes, later expanding its range of fabrics and establishing the Pharma Division in 1938;
Ciby - has been producing dyes since 1859;
and Sandoz, who also produced chemicals and pharmacies, began to work since 1917.
In 1970, Ciba and Geigy merged into one company - Ciba-Geigy. Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz continued their activities independently until 1996, when they merged into an extensive company called Novartis.
Until April 9, 2019 Alcon was a division of the Novartis Group. Alcon has been diveded from Novartis and is now a separate, publicly traded company.
All of these companies at the beginning shared the common features that persist in Novartis today - the passion for the committee and the sale of new products that contribute to human progress through the development of science and health.
The company's name is derived from the Latin 'Novae Artes' - new skills. The name symbolizes the company's commitment to research and development so that it can bring new drugs to the general public.
In 1758, Johann Rudolf Geigy-Gemuseus (1733 – 1793) established his company J.R. Geigy in Basel, Switzerland. The company sold textiles, chemicals, dyes and drugs of all kinds.
In 1859, Alexander Clavel (1805-1873) began producing synthetic fuchsin dye in his dyeing silk factory in Basel, Switzerland.
In 1886 in Basel, Switzerland, Dr Alfred Kern (1853-1928) and Dr Edouard Sandoz (1853-1928) founded the Kern & Sandoz chemical factory. The first dyes produced were alazarin blue and auramin.
In 1890, Ciba manufactures its first medicines: Vioform and Salen antiseptic. The image shows pharmaceutical research at Ciba in Swiss Basel.
In 1917, Professor Arthur Stoll establishes Sandoz Pharmaceutical Division and research begins.
In 1970, Geigy President Louis von Planta and Ciba President Robert Kappeli shake hands on a merger to create CIBA-Geigy.
In 1996, Novartis was founded with the merger Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, creating one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The image of 3 February 1997 shows the new logo being put on the Novartis building at the St. Johann site in Basel.
In 2002, Novartis unifies and strengthens its global network of research institutes by setting up a specialized research division, the Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). This division, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, has research institutes located across the globe.
In 2010, Novartis acquires a majority stake in Alcon, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, becoming the world's leading eyecare business.
In 2015, Novartis completes a series of transactions that focus on three divisions: Pharmaceuticals, Alcon (Eye Care) and Sandoz (Generic Drugs).
On April 9th, 2019, Alcon becomes a separately traded standalone company while Novartis strengthens its focus on Innovative Medicines and generic medicines (Sandoz).