IBSA in Person

Arturo Licenziati, President and CEO of IBSA Group, talks about himself

IBSA Institut Biochimique SA is a pharmaceutical company founded in Lugano (Switzerland) in 1945. In 1985 it was acquired by the current owner, who completely redefined its vision and strategy. Since then, IBSA’s evolution has been shaped by the brilliant insights of Arturo Licenziati, the Group’s President and CEO, whose extraordinary ability to identify alternative, not yet travelled routes has proved to be crucial for the success of the Company.

Producing drugs in the best form, while outlining new therapeutic prospects, is the commitment undertaken for over 35 years by IBSA Group, according to the vision that its President could impress on it from the very beginning. In this video, Dr. Licenziati shares a bit of his story.

And he was also happy to answer some of our questions (below).


It was August 19, 1985, when – as “a foreigner, a stranger, without paternity or maternity” – I decided to take over the reins of the Ticino-based company Institut Biochimique SA. Since that day, step by step, IBSA has grown from a small Swiss laboratory, which employed around 40 people, into a multinational company with about 2,000 collaborators.

Right from the start, I had very clear ideas: I wanted to innovate and – through commitment and hard work – achieve what no one else had.

The first milestone of this pathway was the Japanese adventure with plasters, i.e. medicated patches that can be used as a topical anti-inflammatory (a sort of “modernisation of the old poultices”). In collaboration with a Japanese company, we developed an innovative pharmaceutical form – the first diclofenac-based patch – whose patent was registered first in Europe and then in other markets, and which represented our first winning move.


Over the years, I have become convinced that IBSA’s rapid and solid growth and development are partly due to the four factors that I like to call the 4Cs: Commitment in pursuing the set objectives; the Courage to make choices and difficult decisions, even against the general trend; Cleverness, that is, the ability to understand the market and see a step ahead of others; and Chance, since the opportunity to exploit events and situations is always beneficial, in order to optimise the outcomes of one’s commitment.

Those I have just mentioned are all very important qualities, which alone, however, are not enough. Indeed, an ambitious entrepreneurial vision is also needed. And it takes the right People to make it happen, along with a clear and noble goal. For me it was like this, because in all these years I had the luck and the honour of having exceptional People at my side, who allowed our company to never lose sight of its main objective, namely the patient’s well-being. What guides us, in fact, is never the market, but the patient: indeed, our constant drive to research and develop solutions easy to take and quick to assimilate, in order to ensure a real improvement in the patients’ quality of life, comes from listening to their real needs, as well as from our interaction with specialists.

Their in fact, with all her features and specificities, is always at the centre of our focus, and represents one of our four pillars. At IBSA, we consider the Person not as the final recipient of our products, but rather the starting point of the entire process.


IBSA close to you

For us, being close means putting People at the centre of our ecosystem; it means growing and evolving, establishing ourselves as actors and promoters of a process of change and improvement. Through community-oriented projects and investments, we aim to spread and share Sustainability, Innovation and Beauty, continuing to innovate and outlining new prospects for health and well-being. For us, being sustainable does not only mean respecting the environment, but operating ethically and integrating the optimisation of industrial production with social commitment and the ability to take care of the community in a responsible and transparent way.