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About Us / History

Overview

HRA Pharma was founded in 1996 by André Ulmann with the vision of targeting and tackling niche sectors in healthcare in order to satisfy unmet medical needs.

During the first three years, Dr. Ulmann built up a small team that succeeded in developing and registering the company's first product, NorLevo® (levonorgestrel).

NorLevo®, the emergency contraceptive pill, was launched in France in 1999; one year later, it was approved for marketing throughout Europe. This product generated such strong interest from a public health perspective that the French authorities immediately enacted policy to make it widely accessible to patients. As a result, it became the first hormonal contraceptive product to be made available without a prescription, and the first to be made available free of charge to under-18 year olds. NorLevo® is now available in over 50 countries worldwide.

Today, HRA Pharma is an emerging European pharmaceutical company with local operations in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Over the past decade the company has significantly grown its business in the fields of reproductive health and endocrinology.

  • The company's reproductive health products include Norlevo®, a levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptive, ellaOne®, an ulipristal acetate-based emergency contraceptive, Cicatridine® which promotes vaginal healing and Mona-Lisa®, a copper contraceptive IUD.
  • In the field of endocrine diseases, HRA Pharma commercializes Lysodren®, an orphan drug for the treatment of adrenal cortical carcinoma. Moreover, in order to assist healthcare professionals in the treatment of patients with this disease, HRA Pharma has developed Lysosafe, a free therapeutic monitoring service that helps physicians optimize Lysodren® treatment. Moreover, HRA Pharma portfolio includes Metopirone. The product has currently two indications depending on the country: treatment of Cushing's syndrome and diagnostic drug for pituitary function testing and the differential diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome.

André Ulmann
Founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board
HRA Pharma

André Ulmann's professional career in the healthcare sector spans over 30 years in both medical practice and the pharmaceutical industry. With a unique combination of medical training, research and development knowledge and entrepreneurial intuition, André has been instrumental in the conception and development of a number of pharmaceutical products prior to and after founding HRA Pharma, and is regarded internationally as an expert in reproductive health.

André founded HRA Pharma in 1996 with a vision to target and tackle niche sectors in healthcare in order to fill therapeutic gaps and satisfy critical patient needs. He was the company's chief executive officer until assuming the position of chairman of the company's supervisory board in April 2009. Under his leadership, HRA Pharma developed into a socially-committed pharmaceutical company that designs products, devices, and supporting services in niche areas of health and makes them available to doctors and patients worldwide, reaching €33 million in sales in 2008.

André identified the therapeutic need for emergency contraception and, in 1999, HRA Pharma launched its first product, NorLevo. Known to the general public worldwide as "the morning after pill", NorLevo established HRA Pharma as a pioneer in emergency contraception and brought this subject into the international limelight. Now available in over 50 countries, NorLevo has enabled millions of women worldwide to have greater control over their own reproductive health than ever before, and André and his team have endeavored to make the product available to women everywhere through an established network of public and private partnerships.

Prior to founding HRA Pharma, André's long career in healthcare began as a physician. For seven years he practiced at the Necker Hospital of Paris, where he was chief resident in Nephrology.

André then transitioned his career to the pharmaceutical industry, joining the French company Roussel-Uclaf, where he worked for over a decade. It was while at Roussel-Uclaf that André gained the experience in reproductive health and endocrinology that would later influence his founding HRA Pharma. He began as international project leader for the development of RU 486, an artificial steroid used to block pregnancy. He was then appointed medical director of Laboratoire Roussel France and, following this, served at the helm of four different therapeutic areas within Roussel-Uclaf and Hoechst-Marion-Roussel: international clinical research, endocrinology and immunology, neurobiology, and bone diseases.

André's knowledge and industry expertise have been sought after for a number of advisory roles on two continents. In addition to being an active member of professional organizations including the French Association of Physiologists, the Nephrology Society of France, and the International Society of Nephrology, he has been a consultant to the Population Council of New York, a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on reproductive health. André is also a former member of the board of directors of the Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians and is affiliated with academic activities at the University René Descartes in Paris.

André's scientific contributions have been published in over 100 international peer-reviewed journals. André received his M.D. degree from the University of Paris VII and his Ph.D. in science from the University of Paris VI.