Penicillin Breakthrough in the Production Facility

Scientists at the Lilly Research Laboratories pioneered a technique of adding chemicals to the culture medium in which the Penicillium mold was fermented resulting in the introduction in the mid 1950’s of Phenoxymethylpenicillin (penicillin V). Ernst Brandl, a chemist in an Austrian penicillin production plant noticed during a production step that phenoxymethylpenicillin was resistant to degradation by a dilute acid. This hinted it should be able to withstand the gastric acids in the human gut. Lilly exploited this insight and introduced a potassium salt of phenoxymethylpenicillin – the first reliable penicillin in a tablet.

– Reworded from Sneader, pg. 320