From local family pharmacy to global reach in minimally invasive aesthetics
Croma started as a family pharmacy in Vienna. It has remained a family company, and today it reaches out globally as a challenger in the minimally invasive aesthetics market.
In 1976, pharmacist couple Karin and Gerhard Prinz founded Croma-Pharma® in Vienna. Early on they focused on bringing novel, innovative drugs to Austria. Their ambition was to advance the development of innovative pharmaceutical products and to make them more accessible for patients. "We started with one salesperson, one bookkeeper and one supplier. I was this single employee", remembers Gerhard Prinz.
The 1980s and 1990s: The beginnings in ophthalmology
In the 1980s, Croma started to successfully license active substances to treat glaucoma and subsequently expanded its portfolio in ophthalmology (eye care). It started selling intraocular lenses (IOL) and produced viscoelastic ampoules for cataract surgery. Croma-Pharma was certified as one of the first manufacturers of medicinal products in Austria. Due to the increasing demand, the company relocated to its newly constructed fully automated production facility north of Vienna. This set the milestone for the successful future of the family company. The second generation joined the company, with brothers Andreas and Martin, trained pharmacists like their parents. Over the next decades, more than 100 million syringes were produced.
The 2000s: New business areas - orthopaedics and aesthetics
Along with the steady growth of the company, Croma started to research and develop its own products in ophthalmology. In 1999, the company started to sell them internationally. In 2002, it produced the first viscoelastics for the treatment of arthrosis and moved into further segments. After founding the first branches abroad in 2007, the Swiss company Xcelens® was acquired. Shortly thereafter, Croma-Pharma took over the French manufacturer Cornéal®. These investments helped Croma to expand its international product portfolio in the ophthalmological segment significantly.
In 2009, Croma started to move into dermatological aesthetics and successfully established its brand Princess, expanding the use of its hyaluronic acid syringes to minimally invasive beauty treatments. An international trend, recognised early on, developed into the core business over the following years. Together with Bausch & Lomb, Croma-Pharma distributed the innovative, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent Yellox® which became an international bestseller.
Croma today: Fully focused on aesthetics
Realigning strategically in 2014, Croma moved its focus to minimally invasive aesthetics, selling its ophthalmology and orthopaedics product portfolio to Canadian company Valeant Pharmaceutical, and continues to operate as a manufacturer of hyaluronic acid syringes within these segments. In 2017, Croma’s new syringe received the renowned international IF design award. The new headquarters, opened in 2018, accommodate one of the most modern fully automated hyaluronic acid manufacturing lines in the world, where more than 5,000 syringes are processed each hour.
A joint venture was formed to market HA fillers in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Next to a broad range of HA fillers from its own production under the Saypha® brand name, Croma currently distributes PDO threads, PRP systems and complementary skincare products in its strategic core markets. Currently, Croma has approx. 550 employees and 15 subsidiaries in the European Union, the UK, Switzerland and Brazil, reaching out to 80 markets globally. With founder Gerhard Prinz still involved in the business, his sons Andreas and Martin Prinz today manage the daily business as chief commercial officer (Andreas, CCO) and as chief technical officer (Martin, CTO).