Dr. Ernst Strüngmann
Our institute is named... after Dr. Ernst Strüngmann. He was born in Duisburg in 1914. After World War II, he settled as an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) in Mühlheim an der Ruhr, and founded the company Durachemie. Initially, Durachemie developed medical eyecare products, in 1969 Dr. Ernst Strüngmann expanded into the market of generic pharmaceuticals.
In 1979, two of his three sons, the twins Andreas and Thomas Strüngmann, joined the family business. Andreas was a trained medical doctor with, at that time, almost two years of professional experience in South Africa. Thomas had worked as a business economist at the pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough in New York. Together, the brothers developed Durachemie further and sold it to Cyanamid Lederle in 1986. Then, the two founded their own company, Hexal. After Hexal had become one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world, they sold it to the Novartis pharmaceutical group.
Dr. Ernst Strüngmann died in 2005. In memory of his guidance and advice, Andreas and Thomas Strüngmann established the Ernst Strüngmann Foundation, which funds the Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience.
Three questions for Andreas Strüngmannn
Along with your brother Thomas, you founded the Ernst Strüngmann Institute in memory of your father’s personality and advice. What made these special?
Dr. Andreas Strüngmann: Our father was a very generous person, and his motto reflects that: “live and let live.” It was only possible for my brother and me to found this institute because our father owned a small pharmaceutical company. He paved the way for us, from which we still benefit today. If he had not handed over his company to us, nothing would have turned out this way.
What would your father say about a research institute being named after him?
I think he would be proud and would like that very much. Ernst Strüngmann was interested in everything. And all those who do research at this institute, are curiosity-driven, too.
Why did you decide to fund neuroscience?
We want to support the research of the brain because this organ exerts a particular fascination. That is why we founded the Ernst Strüngmann Institute together with Wolf Singer and in cooperation with the Max Planck Society.