When I started Syntex Pharmaceuticals in Britain nearly a quarter of a century ago, the triumvirate to whom I reported in Mexico were all youngish scientists themselves, and all paper millionaires by their own remarkable efforts.

The chairman of the corporation, George Rosenkranz, not only was one of the founders of the modern steroid industry, but he also had seen himself through the Eidgenössiche Technische Hochschule in Zurich by playing soccer for the Grasshoppers, acting at the Stadtsbuehne and playing international table tennis. Apart from speaking at least five languages, he was a formidable bridge player, serving on the United States team against redoubtable international experts such as Omar Sharif, who led for the Egyptian team.

Rosenkranz, Number 2 was Alejandro Zaffaroni, who had already invented the Zaffaroni method of paper chromatography of steroids and made a profound contribution to the Syntex discoveries of the time, which included fluocinolone acetonide...

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