“There is a number of ways of telling the story, isn’t it?” So, begins Sérgio Simões, VicePresident at Bluepharma since its foundation in 2001. In his corporate life he is in charge of business and new product development, but he never left the academic world. Since 1991 he has been Professor of pharmaceutical biotechnology at the Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in Portugal, founded in 1290. “We can tell it taking advantage of all the data we have today, and we’ll have an interesting story to tell,” he says as he sat down to the interview in mid-2015. He goes on, “How did it happen?”Paulo Barradas Rebelo, the CEO, is probably the best person there is to supply a persuasive answer. He would agree the way Sérgio put it: “It is a story unlike most stories, but it did happen to us.” Paulo, his long-time friend, was the entrepreneurial force behind the efforts leading to the establishment of the company.
“I was the owner of a pharmacy shop and president of a pharmacy shops cooperative when I learned through the newspaper about the closing of the Bayer plant if nobody bought it. Since I was a kid I dreamed about having my own industrial operation and immediately came to believe it was important to save that factory. And we got together in my pharmacy and we started to discuss the possibility of buying the production unit … Then we decided to go for negotiation with Bayer. And it wasn’t easy.”