Combining the Ethics of the Past With a Passion for Innovation

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Boehringer Ingelheim is a different kind of company. Founded more than 130 years ago, it is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Driven by the desire to serve humankind, it remains family owned, giving it the freedom to invest in innovative solutions that lead directly to life-changing medical therapies for people and animals worldwide.

“We are guided by our vision of Value through Innovation,” said Richard Mole, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) Canada. “This means there must be an obvious and significant benefit to our work, whether we are acting on behalf of a human, an animal or even the planet.”

Boehringer Ingelheim has been innovating in Canada since 1972, and has approximately 600 employees across the country. Its Canadian head office has been located in Burlington since 1978, and it serves as the home base for about half of its employees.

In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved global net sales of approximately 15.9 billion euros. It invested 19.6 per cent of its net sales in research and development so it could continue to deliver innovation to patients.

Whether developing breakthrough therapies in areas where medical needs are not being met, or designing programs that allow the company to make meaningful and lasting changes that improve patient care, BI Canada is committed to helping improve the lives of Canadians.

“Because we are family owned, we have the freedom to invest in innovative solutions that not only help improve the health of Canadians, but enhance the healthcare experience and improve the communities we call home,” Mole said. “Our discoveries help alleviate suffering and give many people – and animals – a renewed ability to do the things that matter most to them.”

The story of Suzy is just one example. Suzy began smoking when she was 16 and continued for more than 60 years. When she was in her 80s, she began to experience shortness of breath. Her doctor told her to throw away the cigarettes and trade them in for inhalers – but those inhalers didn’t work for her. Suzy couldn’t even walk down the hall of her apartment without feeling winded. Then she was prescribed a Boehringer Ingelheim product for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung disease that involves difficulty breathing, fatigue and impaired quality of life. With her new treatment, Suzy can breathe more easily and now walk around as much as she wants – around her apartment, down the street and even out with her daughters. Suzy is back to doing the things that matter most to her.

Another way that BI Canada is working to help improve the lives of Canadians is by making lasting contributions to the communities where its employees live, work and raise their children.

In 2017, the company invested in 70 causes across the country. The diverse group of recipients included hospitals, cancer groups, children’s charities, animal welfare organizations and women’s centres. Of those investments, approximately 20 per cent of them were directed to the Burlington community.

Boehringer Ingelheim was founded in 1885 by Albert Boehringer, and he set a tone for the company’s culture guided by the values of trust, respect, empathy and passion. The company is powered by its people and every day, they strive to live up to the high ethical standards that Albert set.

It makes you wonder if a company built on principles and ethics from the 19th century can be on the forefront of innovation in the 20th century. The answer? Absolutely. And that rare combination is what makes Boehringer Ingelheim a different kind of company.

Read the full Perspective Burlington 2017 insert here