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From intuition to the first steps


Gian Antonio Dompé, an enthusiast for the chemico-pharmaceutical sciences, opens a specialty shop in Milan’s Piazza della Scala.


The Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel, publishes his studies of the transmission of inherited characteristics. They were subsequently forgotten for years before being rediscovered at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Louis Pasteur manages to obtain an attenuated vaccine against rabies by selecting viral mutants that had lost their virulence against humans and animals.


Continuing the profession of his father, Onorato Dompé establishes Italo-English Pharmacies on the basis of British standards. Their production of galenic formulations transforms the typical work of a pharmacy: business developed, and a chain of pharmacies is set up in the principal cities of Italy.

1898 - Onorato Dompé


Upon his return to his laboratory after a holiday, Alexander Fleming notices the formation of a white halo in one of his cultures of a bacterium that was then considered the potential cause of influenza. This first sign of penicillin heralded the dawning of the antibiotic era.


Franco Dompé converts the work of his father into an industrial business by founding Dompé Farmaceutici at the site that still houses the Group’s central offices.

1940 - Franco Dompé

Protagonists in the age of DNA


James Watson and Francis Crick identify the “double helix” structure of DNA, for which they will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.


Har Gobind Khorana and Marshall Nirenberg decipher the language of the genetic code: reading DNA in groups of three bases (triplets). Both will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968.


Sergio Dompé joins the company and personally defines the strategies of the Group. Dompé Farmaceutici invests in research and concentrates on three therapeutic areas: anti-inflammatory, osteo-articular and respiratory.


The first test-tube baby is born in Great Britain.


Charles Weissmann and his team produce the drug interferon from bacteria.


Rita Levi Montalcini receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF).


Dompé Biotec, a reference centre for biotechnological innovation in Italy and Europe, is founded.


The first official use of gene therapy is made to treat a young girl affected by adenosine deaminase deficiency in the USA. This treatment will be first used in Italy to treat a young boy affected by the same disease.


Dompé’s production site, which is specialised in producing oral, liquid and granular formulations that guarantee national and international supplies of proprietary products, is founded in L’Aquila.


Dolly, the first cloned sheep, is born at Roslin Institute in Edinburgh after the nucleus of an adult mammary gland cell is inserted into an egg cell.

The modern era


The Human Genome Project completes the reading of DNA.


Dompé establishes a biotechnology plant in L’Aquila for the production of recombinant proteins to treat rare diseases.


In the centenary of the Nobel Prize, the American Leland H. Hartwell and the Britons R. Timothy Hunt and Paul M. Nurse receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering key factors in cell cycle regulation.


Biogen Dompé, a joint venture between Biogen Idec and Dompé, is founded in Italy as a company dedicated to research into new treatments for multiple sclerosis with the aim of offering patients innovative biotechnological products with a high therapeutic profile.


Craig Venter and his collaborators create a complete DNA in a test tube, and subsequently make the first transplant of genetic material from one mycoplasma to another of a different species.


Amgen Dompé, a joint venture between Amgen and Dompé, is founded for the development of drugs to be used in oncology and nephrology. In 2014 the partners mutually agreed to conclude the JV.


Science makes it safe to reprogram skin cells so that they become stem cells without using cloning or destroying embryos. Furthermore, advances are made in the gene therapy of Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a severe eye disease.


Dompé creates its Q-rare Division with the aim of offering innovative therapeutic solutions for the treatment of orphan diseases.


Nature publishes a study of the effects of rapamycin, a drug that may represent a long-life elixir by acting on the metabolism.


Dompé acquires the right to develop, produce and market NGF for the treatment of neurotrophic keratitis, a rare eye disease. This is the first therapeutic application of the findings that led to Rita Levi Montalcini being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dompé also acquires more than 30% of Philogen, a biotech company involved in the development of oncological drugs.


Craig Venter creates “artificial life”: i.e. a cell made using synthetic, laboratory-constructed DNA that is capable of self-replication.


Dompé’s growth continues, and the extension of its biotech plant in L’Aquila increases its research and production potential.


Progress is made in controlling AIDS as a study demonstrates that drugs can reduce the probability of sexually transmitting the disease in 96% of seropositive people.


Research into use of stem cells continues. A study demonstrates that mouse embryonal stem cells allow the birth of animals to surrogate mothers.


New headquarters are opened in Milan, and Dompé completes the acquisition of Anabasis, an Italian company that develops innovative treatments for eye diseases starting from studies on NGF.


A study by researchers of the University of Washington shows that it will be possible to predict the entire genome of a fetus on the basis of a maternal sample and a paternal saliva sample.


A phase III trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of reparixin in improving the efficiency of allogeneic pancreatic islet transplantation is started in Europe and the USA.


Professor Rita Levi Montalcini, one of the most important scientists in modern medicine, dies in Rome at the age of 103 years.


The first international phase I/II clinical trial of the use of recombinant human NGF in the treatment of neurotrophic keratitis gets under way in 37 European centres.


The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof, three biologists who discovered the mechanism regulating the transport of molecules inside cells.


Dompé announces that rhNGF has been designated an orphan drug for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa by the European Medicines Agency and the USA Food and Drug Administration.


The British Royal Society expects scientific production China will exceed that of the United States by the end of the year, seven years earlier than previously estimated.


A phase II/III trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of reparixin in the autologous transplantation of pancreatic islets is started in the United States.


Fabiola Gianotti becomes the first woman to be selected as General Director in the 60-year history of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).


Enrolment conclusion of the Dompé first phase III trial with reparixin in patients undergoing pancreatic islet transplantations.


Genetic engineering expands the genetic alphabet by synthesising an artificial bacterium that has two additional nucleic acids called X and Y. The two new "letters" can be used to create laboratory-made proteins with new amino acids.


Dompé inaugurates his New York subsidiary with the aim of strengthening the company presence in the USA and coordinate the Research&Development of new drugs for the treatment of diseases in the areas of ophthalmology, oncology and organ transplantation.


The first effective vaccine against the Ebola virus is created. Tested on over four thousand people in Guinea Concry, one of the countries with the highest level of infection, the vaccine’s massive coverage was obtained by applying a “ring” strategy. The persons chosen for treatment with the vaccine were those who had come into contact with people who had just been diagnosed with an Ebola virus infection (who were also treated with the vaccine). Result: 100% efficacy.


The Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products of the EMA (European Medicines Agency) has designated rhNGF, the experimental biotech molecule developed by Dompé’s R&D division drawing from the studies of the Nobel Prize in Medicine Rita Levi Montalcini, as the orphan drug for the treatment of neurotrophic keratitis.


In the field of neuroscience, a discovery will force scientists to rewrite the books on human anatomy: the existence of an immune system even in the brain. No one before had been able to identify the presence of lymphatic tissue in the brain.


Enrolment in the phase 2 clinical trial fRida in patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer starts.


Thanks to the New Horizons project developed by Nasa, it is now possible for the first time ever to view images of the planet Pluto.


The Company opens its first two branch offices within Europe: Tirana and Barcelona.


Scientists at the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) are able for the first time to detect the presence of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that form when two masses are approaching each other, rapidly rotating around each other. This is a very important discovery, because it experimentally confirms what Albert Einstein had predicted 100 years earlier in his Theory of General Relativity.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves the request for authorisation to market cenegermin eye drops (Oxervate®), developed for the treatment of moderate and severe neurotrophic keratitis in adults.


Solar Impulse, the first solar-powered plane, lands in Abu Dhabi after completing a trip around the world of 26,000 miles, powered only by the solar panels covering its wings. Among the most difficult stages of the journey is the non-stop 5-day crossing over the Pacific.


Dompé takes over the Pharma division of the pharmaceutical Group Bracco.


Dompé Primary is formed, the Company’s division involved in the development and distribution of ethical drugs and OTC products, dietary supplements, medical devices and cosmetics, in a number of therapeutic fields (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, paediatric, neurological, endocrinological, urological, ophthalmic, stomatological and respiratory diseases) and in the areas of integration of vitamins and minerals and of personal hygiene.


The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approves devices and sensors to wear that will allow accurate 24/7 monitoring. The so-called "digital health" is becoming increasingly popular. These tools will collect data to be shared with the medical center, which will then be sent to smartphones and then redirected to the cloud. Thanks to dedicated analysis and software, the cloud will be able to send feedback to the user.


In May the Committee for Human Medicinal Products (CHMP) of EMA (European Medicines Agency) has released a positive opinion, recommending the marketing authorization for rhNGF. In July the European Commission has granted the marketing authorisation for rhNGF eye drops, first biotech drug for the treatment of moderate to severe neurotrophic keratitis.