Ferring’s founder is born

Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Ferring’s founder was born in Dagebüll on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. His parents Keike Arfsten and Otto Paulsen both came from old Föhr families, so-called Ferring families. (Föhr is a Nord-Friesian island).


Beginning medical studies

Frederik Paulsen finished Kieler Gelehrtenschule and enrolled at the University of Graz Austria. On advice from his father he decided to study medicine in spite of his preference for political science and law. As a physician he would be able to earn his living in any country


In political trouble

Political events caught up with Frederik Paulsen while he was completing his thesis on colloidosmotic pressure in the blood of pregnant women. His political activities resulted in him coming into conflict with Germany’s National Socialists. His wrong-doing was the translation of an article from the British newspaper the “Manchester Guardian”, with a description of two political murders that had taken place in Kiel.


18 months in prison

Frederik Paulsen was found guilty of aiding and abetting the distribution of information against the formation of new parties (the German National People’s Party) and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

The sentence was a shock to Frederik, who had actually been expecting an acquittal, since all he had done was to translate an article from a legally acquired foreign newspaper which, even under the laws of the day, was not an offence.


Out through the back door

When released from prison in April his father and brother had arranged with the prison chaplain for him to leave through the back door to escape the waiting Gestapo at the front who wanted to take him to a concentration camp.

Armed with a ticket, some Swiss Francs and a passport, issued when he was still in prison on the initiative of his father and brother, Frederik took the next train to Basel, Switzerland.

Doctorate in Basel

In July, Frederik Paulsen passed the main examination in medicine at the University of Basel, followed a few days later by the doctoral degree ceremony with the doctoral dissertation, which he had been working on and almost completed in Kiel.

Northward bound

On his 26th birthday in July Frederik Paulsen arrived in Sweden, where he felt certain that he would be able to master his life. When leaving Germany he swore that he would never again become involved in politics.


Working for Organon

Only one year after his arrival in Sweden, Frederik Paulsen’s name appeared on a Swedish publication on hormones. The article paved the way to his first paid job at Organon in Sweden, where he introduced the company’s hormone preparations. From his office in Stockholm he strongly enhanced interest and knowledge of endocrinology among Swedish doctors. After some time he decided it would be an advantage to work together with a Swedish pharmaceutical company and a hormone department started at Pharmacia at that time.

Paulsen initiated the development of the blood substitute DEXTRAN, which after its launch turned out as a scientific and financial success story for the budding Pharmacia, who made billions out of DEXTRAN.


Swedish citizenship

Frederik Paulsen became a Swedish citizen, though it was all but impossible at that time for a foreign national from a country at war. This unusual exception was made thanks to very influential and prominent supporters in the fields of medicine and research, who considered his work to be of the utmost importance. Frederik Paulsen remained a Swedish citizen for the rest of his life.


Swedish Endocrine Society

Frederik Paulsen played a decisive role in the foundation of the Swedish Endocrine Society.


After the war

The laboratory of the hormone department, set up during wartime, gained in importance when connections between Sweden and Holland were interrupted after the allied invasion in 1944. After the war however, conflicting interests of Organon and Pharmacia concerning the activities of the hormone department led to a new agreement between the two companies, with Pharmacia promoting Organon's hormones on an agency basis and Organon taking over the hormone department to form a local company for chemical and clinical research and medical services, and some production of peptide hormones at a small scale. The Biochemical Institute in Stockholm generously gave room for the laboratory work. Dr. Paulsen became the Head of the company Nordiska Organon, which assisted in introducing Organon products in other Nordic countries However, after some years Dr. Paulsen was doubtful about the future of the company.

In contrast to the big hormone companies whose main interest was the steroid hormones, Dr. Paulsen strongly believed in the importance of peptide hormones, especially those of the pituitary gland. This belief was strengthened when Hench and Kendall published their observations of the beneficiary effect of ACTH and hormones of the adrenal cortical on patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


In favour of a united Europe

Frederik Paulsen was among the founding members of the “Federalist Union of European Ethnic Groups in Versailles”. At the Union’s anniversary 40 years later, Frederik Paulsen, as one of the speakers, emphasised the importance of ethnic groups in the construction of a united Europe.


Laying the foundation for Ferring

Dr. Frederik Paulsen and Eva Frandsen incorporated ‘Nordiske Hormonlaboratorie’, later to be named Ferring. The company wanted to be a Nordic enterprise that focused on hormones, including production, chemical and physiological research, and their application in medicine.

Dr. Paulsen had become assistant professor at the Pharmacological Institute at the University of Lund where he advised on pharmacological and clinical matters and marketing. Few years later he took over full time leadership of the company.


Laying the foundation for Ferring

In the spring Nordiske Hormonlaboratorie started the production of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTC) on rented 60 square metres in an old factory building in Malmö, Sweden. The ACTC came from local hog pituitaries which were richer in ACTH than other domestic species and furthermore hog slaughterhouses in the region were well organised.

Eva Frandsen who had experience with other peptide hormones from her time in Stockholm with Pharmacia and Organon led the production after having set up the same production the previous year with partners in Copenhagen. She was soon assisted by Helmer Hagstam, who later on became Ferring’s head of production and technical director for many years.

The appearance of ACTC and the adrenal cortical hormones on the drug market was the beginning of antimmune therapy and offered new possibilities for treating antimmune diseases. This resulted in an enormous amount of work in clinical development of the ACTH and new indications were added steadily. Dr. Paulsen headed up this work and he benefited from his good connections with Swedish doctors during many years.


Strong roots decide name

Frederik Paulsen changed the company name to Ferring. He had practical and rational reasons for renaming the company; he wanted a name that would be easy to understand and pronounce in as many countries as possible.

His reason for choosing ‘Ferring’ was deeply personal and demonstrated his close connections with his native island of Föhr, since the Friesian word ‘Ferring’ is the name given to the islanders living there.



Ferring moved from its rented location to its first self-owned factory in Malmö. As Ferring grew, companies opened in Germany and Denmark, but Dr. Paulsen, on an old advice of his grandmother, did not borrow money to finance the expansion.



An important breakthrough for Ferring came when Dr. Paulsen and his staff succeeded in producing synthetic peptide hormones (vasopressin and oxytocin) on an industrial scale, and became one of the first companies in the worldwide pharmaceutical industry.

Ferring became the only worldwide producer of vasopressin, a hormone whose structure was modified to form the basis of MINIRIN®, which has been Ferring’s flagship product for 20 years.


Launch of MINIRIN

Ferring launched MINIRIN®, an anti-diuretic hormone used initially to treat diabetes insipidus and later primary nocturnal enuresis, or bedwetting. MINIRIN soon became the most important product in Ferring’s product portfolio.


New production site

Ferring established its first production site outside Scandinavia in Kiel, Germany.



First registration and launch of GLYPRESSIN® (terlipressin), an analogue of vasopressin, which is used for the treatment of bleeding oeosphageal varices.


Continuous Expansion

Ferring began forming global subsidiaries in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.


Kiel Ferring Foundation

Dr. Frederik Paulsen was one of the initiators of the Kiel Ferring Foundation, which, since its formation has awarded 20,000 DM every other year to two scientists at the Faculty of Medicine at the Christian Albrechts-University in Kiel for notable studies in the field of endocrinology.


Launch of MINIRIN tablet

The MINIRIN® tablet was the first peptide-based pharmaceutical to be successfully formulated for administration in tablet form.


Launch of PENTASA

Ferring launched PENTASA® (mesalazine) for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. This product enabled the company to strengthen its position in gastroenterology.


Frederik Paulsen Junior becomes CEO

The founder’s youngest son, Frederik Paulsen, became CEO of the Ferring Group. At the same time Ferring established Ferring B.V. in The Netherlands as a holding company for the Group. Today Frederik Paulsen is Chairman of the Board.


New worldwide subsidiaries

During the 1990s, Ferring accelerated the opening of new subsidiaries in Eastern and Western Europe, South America, Asia, South Africa and in the Middle East. On average, revenues grew by 20 percent a year.


New activities in Prague

Ferring BV entered into a joint-venture with Léciva a.s., the largest pharmaceutical company in the Czech Republic at that time.

Launch of MENOGON

In June of this year Ferring launched its first product in the area of infertility, MENOGON® (menotropin) for the treatment of infertile couples.


Winter School

Ferring became the main sponsor of the ESPE (European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology) Winter School for young paediatric endocrinologists from Eastern Europe. Ferring still supports the winter school, where the aspiring young endocrinologists attend a one week ‘crash course’, during which they receive instruction in all areas of modern endocrinology from professors from western and central Europe.


Launch of ZOMACTON

Ferring launched ZOMACTON® (hGH) for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in children and for the treatment of girls with Turner’s syndrome.


Ferring’s founder dies at 88

Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Ferring’s founder, died at the age of 88, after having spent his last 17 years on his native island Föhr together with his wife Eva Paulsen. During these years he was actively involved in Friesian affairs and the problems of minority groups.



In 2000, Ferring launched its latest medicine, TRACTOCILE® (atosiban), a new chemical entity developed by Ferring’s researchers for the treatment of pre-term (premature) labour. Ferring also launched MENOPUR® (menotropin), a follow-up compound to MENOGON® (menotropin) for the treatment of infertile couples.


Ferring International Center opens for business

On January 1st the new Ferring International Center building in Ørestad, Copenhagen opened for business. With its 20 floors, designed by the renowned architect Henning Larsen, the new building is a landmark for Ferring and one of the highest office buildings in Scandinavia.


Starting signal for Ferring’s fifth production site

Ferring breaks the ground for the building of its new state-of-the-art multi-purpose site in Saint-Prex, Switzerland and thereby continues its commitment to the region.


Ferring Headquarters open

Ferring Headquarters and new production facility open in Saint-Prex, Switzerland. The facility provides additional production capacity for Ferring's dry products as well as secondary packaging and distribution for Ferring's entire range of products.


Launch of FIRMAGON

Launch of FIRMAGON® (degarelix), a GnRH blocker for advanced hormone-dependent prostate cancer.


Ferring celebrates its 60th anniversary

Ferring was founded in 1950 and celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2010. The company has evolved from a small 2-people enterprise to a now strong player in the pharmaceutical field. It is present on all continents.


Acquisition of Cytokine

Acquisition of Cytokine PharmaSciences Inc. (CPSI) and its subsidiary, Controlled Therapeutics Scotland (CTS). The new entity called Ferring Controlled Therapeutics will continue its manufacturing activities in Scotland.

Send Email Print