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  • Introduction

    bioMérieux, a pioneer in the fight against infectious diseases

    bioMérieux, a pioneer in the fight against infectious diseases


    As a major global player in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, bioMérieux develops diagnostic tests and educational tools which play a highly instrumental part in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.  Building on more than 50 years of commitment to serving global public health and its leadership position in microbiology, bioMérieux has long made the fight against antimicrobial resistance one of its core priorities.

    Alexandre Mérieux,
    Chairman and CEO of bioMérieux

    Born in Lyon, France, in 1870, Marcel Mérieux was a personal assistant to Louis Pasteur, who was the first to develop a vaccination method. He founded the Institut Mérieux back in 1897 and, inspired by his mentor, never forgot to focus on both veterinary and human medicine together. In 1935, approximately 40 people were employed by the Institut Mérieux, producing some 15,000 doses of tuberculin and 450,000 doses of immune sera and veterinary vaccines per year.

    Later, Marcel Mérieux’s son, Dr Charles Mérieux, would often be quoted as saying “There are no borders between human and veterinary medicine”.


    In 1963, Alain Mérieux — Marcel Mérieux’s grandson — founded bioMérieux with the commitment to serve public health worldwide through in vitro diagnostics. Since its origins, bioMérieux has researched, developed and brought to market high medical value diagnostic tools and solutions to identify infections as quickly as possible, using current state-of-the art science and technology.

    From its very creation, in 1963, bioMérieux offered a range of products for laboratory testing, covering the fields of bacteriology, biochemistry, coagulation and virology.

    The introduction of automation in the clinical laboratories during the 1970s was a major milestone for the diagnostics industry, heralding the start of a revolution in the laboratory’s role and its effect on medical practice. However, labs still had to group samples in order to run their instruments at full capacity. It was in the 1980s that the possibility of individual tests began to emerge. The acquisitions of API Systems in 1987 and Vitek Systems in 1988 were turning points in bioMérieux’s history. VIDAS® would become the Company’s flagship product, enabling it to make a spectacular entry on the automated immunoassays clinical market in 1991, and then in the industrial microbiology sector.

    By the end of the 20th century, automation had been extended to every area of in vitro diagnostics, which is now on course for further change with the advent of new technologies. Decisional algorithms to process and interpret data, digital imaging, mass spectrometry and telemedicine are bringing about major changes in the practice of medicine and the organization of healthcare. These are the signs of an underlying trend: the convergence of automation, information technology and the life sciences.

    Today, bioMérieux is a publicly-listed family-run company that remains strongly attached to its roots. Following the Mérieux family’s seminal commitment to serving human and animal health worldwide, both aspects have always been handled within the single concept of “One Health”. In the field of antimicrobial resistance, such a holistic approach is especially important, and bioMérieux’s product and service offer includes the characterization of microbial flora, detection of specific pathogens, antibiotic resistance profiling, as well as analysis of food, drug, water and air samples in the clinical, veterinary and food sectors.

    Beyond its core business of product development, bioMérieux is also a long-standing international advocate for awareness-raising activities related to antibiotic resistance (see EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY TO TACKLE ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE). It has produced a wide array of educational material, increased its sponsorship for scientific studies and organizations, and continues to communicate actively about the global antibiotic resistance threat.

    As a pioneer of in vitro diagnostics and a global leader in microbiology, bioMérieux offers a wide array of solutions for the implementation of WHO’s Global Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance.

    • Research -> Strengthen the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research.
    • Prevention -> Reduce the incidence of infection through detection of multi-resistant bacteria and infection-prevention measures.
    • Prescription -> Reduce the use of antibiotics in human and animal health.
    • Education -> Improve awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance through effective communication, education and training.
    • Innovation -> Develop high medical value diagnostic solutions to combat infectious diseases and the rise of antibiotic resistance.
    • Surveillance -> Track the spread of pathogens and resistance patterns at local, regional, national and international levels, using epidemiology surveillance tools to support relevant infection control and antibiotic policies.