Our history and future

Company Story

Our history and future

The company was founded in 1926 by André Guerbet. Guerbet has since left its mark on medical imaging technologies and the contrast media associated with them.

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Know the history

Behind the story

It all began with Marcel Guerbet’s discovery of the first iodinated organic contrast medium in 1901. The company was later founded in 1926 by André Guerbet. Since then it has expanded significantly, thanks to the discovery of innovations that have left their mark on medical imaging technologies and the contrast media associated with them. Today, Guerbet sells a comprehensive range of solutions for diagnostic and interventional imaging.

More than 90 years of passion

Guerbet celebrated its 90th year of activity with all its employees and stakeholders in 2016. A year after doubling in size, following a major acquisition in the United States, the Group continues to grow as one of the leading players in medical imaging worldwide. The Group offers a full range of medical solutions and services – in diagnostic and interventional Imaging – while continuously investing in innovation and its production capacities, in addition to a network of subsidiaries and distributors that ensure a presence in all the principal global markets.

A pioneer and a player in the imaging of the future

Although the history of Guerbet dates back to 1901, with the discovery by Marcel Guerbet of the world’s first iodinated contrast agent, the official creation of the pharmaceutical company dates from November 15, 1926. In 1965 it became SA Laboratoires André Guerbet. From a headcount of 150 at that time, its staff grew to 1,000 in 1990, 1,500 in 2015 and +2,800 today, following the acquisition of Mallinckrodt’s “Contrast Media and Delivery Systems” business in 2015. With this acquisition Guerbet has reached a critical size in each segment and geographical zone with the ambition of entering the world’s top three in medical imaging.

Guerbet recently launched a strategic initiative to develop a new business based on digital technologies and artificial intelligence with two objectives: first, to improve radiologists' productivity, e.g. with diagnostic assistance tools, and second, to obtain a tumor tissue characterization through imaging to better guide treatments or even eventually replace a biopsy.

From France to International Distribution

From a business essentially focused on France in the early 1960s, Guerbet developed its international distribution network greatly from the 1970s onwards. In 1986, Guerbet entered the stock market (on the Paris Stock Exchange second market) to bolster its development. Today, Guerbet is truly an international group, with 85% of its sales generated outside of France.

Guerbet Company timeline

A timeline showing the growth of the Guerbet Group and development of key innovations.

1901:

  • Invention of Lipiodol®
    • Marcel Guerbet develops an iodized oil called Lipiodol®. Its opacifying properties, discovered in 1918, make it the world's first iodized contrast agent.

1926:

  • Birth of the Laboratory
    • Marcel Guerbet and his son André open a chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Saint-Ouen. New contrast agents are used in urography and angiography, bronchography and hysterosalpingography.

1944:

  • Saint-Ouen under bombing
    • The plant is bombed twice, but the damage is minor and without casualties. There is no gas, electricity, or coal. The scarcity of iodine disrupts Guerbet’s industrial activity throughout the war.

1964 & 1968:

  • Research & consolidation
    • In 1964, Michel Guerbet takes over from his father, André.
    • In 1968, Guerbet moves to Aulnay-sous-Bois.

1972:

  • An international dimension
    • Guerbet opens the first international affiliate in Brazil, then strengthens production capabilities with a second chemical plant in Lanester (Morbihan) in 1981, and acquiring Simafex (fine chemicals) in 1987. 
    • Guerbet markets Hexabrix® in France (1979), the USA and Japan (1985) before launching Dotarem® for MRI in France (1989).

1980:

  • Lipiodol® in Interventional Radiology
    • The first chemoembolizations are performed in Japan with Lipiodol® Ultra Fluid to treat patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma.

1990:

  • Bolstered MRI product range and European growth
    • Guerbet pursues its growth in Europe by opening affiliates in Germany (1992), the UK and Turkey (1994).
    • At the same time, the MRI portfolio is bolstered with new products: Lumirem® (1993), Xenetix® (1994, X-ray imaging), and Endorem® (1995).

2006: 

  • An international dimension
    • After opening three new European affiliates in Spain, Switzerland (1987), and Austria (1996), Guerbet Spa is launched in Italy (2000).
    • Guerbet continues its international expansion by strengthening its presence in Asia. The Japanese affiliate, opened in 1978, is followed by South Korea (1998), Hong-Kong (2000), and Taiwan (1999). In 2002, Guerbet becomes established in the USA.
    • In 2006, Guerbet launches its innovation initiative with a polypropylene softbag for Xenetix® (ScanBag® by Xenetix®).

2011:

  • Yves L'Epine is appointed CEO of the Guerbet group.

2013:

  • Dotarem® and Lipiodol®
    • FDA approves Dotarem® and grants Orphan Drug designation to Lipiodol® for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Dotarem® is the first macrocyclic and ionic gadolinium-based contrast agent in the USA.

2014:

  • Launch of FlowSens®, a new-generation injection solution in CT imaging
    • FlowSens® and associated disposables are ergonomic and easy to use, and designed to meet the practical requirements of radiologists and radiographers.
    • Comprising a soft bag injector and a complete range of associated disposables and services, FlowSens® combines a hydraulic syringe-free injection system with intuitive usage and safeguarding procedures at every stage of the injection.
    • FlowSens® is compatible with ScanBag® and all contrast agents currently available.

2015:

  • Acquisition of Mallinckrodt's contrast media and delivery systems business 
    • Guerbet acquires Mallinckrodt’s contrast media and delivery systems business (“CMDS”), creating a new global leader in medical imaging solutions and services.

2017:

  • Guerbet invests in the Truffle Capital fund
    • To contribute to the development of innovative therapeutic solutions, particularly minimally invasive, ambulatory or image-guided procedures, Guerbet invests in the Truffle Capital fund.
  • Launch of Vectorio® 
    • Guerbet launches Vectorio®, an innovative medical device for Interventional Imaging
  • Launch of Contrast&Care® 
    • In Diagnostic Imaging, Guerbet enriches its integrated offer with the new Contrast&Care® digital injection management solution.

2018:

  • Acquisition of Accurate Medical Therapeutics
    • Guerbet offers a range of microcatheters for embolization procedures on tumors or aneurysms.
  • Acquisition of a technology developed by Occlugel
    • Deployed in several ranges of microspheres for use in vascular embolization of benign tumors and vascular chemoembolization of tumors.
  • Launch of GEAR2023
    • Guerbet’s ambitious strategic plan to better capture growth opportunities in a context of evolving trends in its markets.
  • Strategic partnership with IBM Watson Health
    • Co-development of Augmented Intelligence solution to help diagnose and treat liver cancer.

2019:

  • Microcatheter CE marking
    • In April 2019, Guerbet is awarded the CE Mark for the SeQure® and DraKon™ microcatheters embolization systems.
  • 2nd agreement with IBM Watson Health
    • Co-development of an Augmented Intelligence solution to help diagnose and treat prostate cancer.
Logo GEAR2023 RVB

Strategy

The GEAR 2023 plan presented on April 18, 2018, on Capital Markets Day, sets out the Group’s medium-term strategy. The objective of this plan is to take advantage of the growth opportunities that exist in a context of changing markets.

The GEAR 2023 strategic plan is built around four pillars:

  • Grow our existing products;
  • Expand into adjacencies;
  • Acquire new technologies;
  • Return to Shareholders.

The GEAR 2023 strategic plan combines “Internal Boost” initiatives, aimed at accelerating organic growth based on targeted investments in the current business where there are market opportunities, and “External Boost” initiatives, by pursuing acquisition opportunities in order to generate further growth and improve potential profit margins.

Presentations:

Guerbet launches GEAR 2023

Guerbet Press Release