In The Netherlands, the infrastructural arrangements show a slightly different pattern that is very illustrative in clarifying how the networks between scientists and the pharmaceutical companies were built. Dutch scientists could not ally themselves with the pharmaceutical industry simply because no Dutch pharmaceutical company then existed. This situation forced scientists to opt for the strongest form of alliance they could create—namely, to take part in the founding of a pharmaceutical company.

The leading Dutch research group in the emerging field of endocrinology was the Pharmaco-Therapeutic Laboratory of the University of Amsterdam. This group consisted of physiologists, physicians and chemists, and was headed by Ernst Laqueur (Figure 4.1). Laqueur was born in Obernigk (Breslau) in 1880, and trained as a physician at the Universities of Breslau and Heidelberg. Besides his medical training he was educated in physical and organic chemistry and pharmacology. After several appointments at German and Belgian universities, he became professor of pharmacology at the University of Amsterdam in 1920 (Anonymous 1938). In memorials, Laqueur is usually described as an excellent manager, a scientist who did not shine so much in laboratory experiments but was a brilliant organizer of scientific labor (Tausk 1978:12). This is obvious from the way in which he knew how to solve the problem of gaining access to research materials.

In 1923, Ernst Laqueur made contacts with Saal van Zwanenberg, the director of a Dutch slaughterhouse. At that time Zwanenberg—following a tradition that already existed in other countries—was looking for customers for the organic remains from his slaughterhouse. Among the waste products, mostly organs that could not be used for the production of food, were the glands of the slaughtered animals. This meeting marked the start of the founding of Organon. In June 1923, Ernst Laqueur signed a contract with Zwanenberg’s Slaughterhouses and Fabrics Limited Company in which Laqueur was made scientific consultant for the preparation of medical organ products. Organon committed itself to processing the organic material from Zwanenberg’s slaughterhouse. The Organon Limited Company was founded in July 1923, starting as a small laboratory inside the buildings of Zwanenberg’s Slaughterhouse. The full name of this new company was: Organon Limited Company for the Manufacturing of Organ Preparations on a Scientific Basis. The very name of Organon was most probably suggested by Laqueur, having in mind the Greek word for organ. Laqueur became one of the three members of the board of directors, specifically in charge of the scientific and medical management of the company (Tausk 1978:15, 17, 19).

In this manner, Ernst Laqueur solved the problem of acquiring research materials. Now the Amsterdam School was guaranteed a steady and reliable supply of all the organic material required for research, both on the pancreatic hormone (insulin) and on gonadal hormones. Through the 1920s and 1930s, Laqueur’s laboratory maintained its close cooperation with Organon: the connection proved to be of great research value, not only for the supply of gonads, but also when gonads were replaced by urine as a source of pure hormones (Figure 4.2).