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Victor Siaulys 1936–2009
Victor Siaulys, a leading developer of natural products and pharmaceuticals in Brazil, passed away on March 19, 2009, at age 73, in São Paulo from complications related to leukemia.1

Siaulys was well-known for his contributions in developing Brazil’s pharmaceutical industry as well as his pioneering work developing natural pharmaceuticals, such as phytomedicines made from the Brazilian plant Cordia verbenacea (Boraginaceae).

“Victor had many important accomplishments, which include co-founding the first entirely Brazilian pharmaceutical company,” said Paul Altaffer, vice president of business and product development at RFI Ingredients (e-mail, June 5, 2009). “He is also responsible for supporting, leading, and funding the development of drugs that come from plants, especially from Brazilian biodiversity. Cordia verbenacea is a prime example of the kind of project he envisioned, promoted, and funded. Cordia cream (Achéflan® in Brazil, Cordia Extreme™ in the US) is one of the best selling topical anti-inflammatory products in South America.” He was also considered a “visionary, dynamic, and tireless entrepreneur,” according to Altaffer.

According to Luiz Pianowski, PhD, owner of the pharmaceutical consulting company Pianowski & Pianowski and past director of research and development at Aché, Siaulys often applied a home-made hydroalcoholic extract of C. verbenacea to his knees to relieve pain after playing tennis (e-mail, June 30, 2009). “As he noticed that the preparation was extremely effective, he started to study the plant at Aché,” said Dr. Pianowski. This led to the development of the cream. Dr. Pianowski added that originally the company believed that the active ingriendent was in the flavonoid (compound); however, it was actually in the essential oil: “Thus, Achéflan® became a clear cream instead of a dark ointment, and more effective,” said Dr. Pianowski.

Siaulys was born May 19, 1936, in the Pompéia neighborhood in São Paulo.2 He worked as a fishmonger and an errand runner, then graduated from the Largo São Francisco Law School of the University of São Paulo.

In 1965 Siaulys co-founded the pharmaceutical company Prodoctor in São Paulo with co-founders Adalmiro Dellape Baptista and Antônio Gilberto Depieri. In 1966, the 3 friends acquired an old pharmaceutical company, Aché. Aché Pharmaceutical Laboratories South America is now one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Brazil. Siaulys worked directly with this company for 30 years and contributed to the development of products, according to information provided by staff from Aché (written communication, May 14, 2009). He later served as president of the shareholders council for Aché as well as on the scientific board of the laboratory.

Siaulys also founded the Brazilian Association of Assistance for the Visually Impaired, or Laramara, to help support visually and physically impaired individuals.2 His inspiration came from his daughter, Lara, a premature baby who lost her sight due to a retina problem, according to Aché staff.

Siaulys survived 3 other cancers during his lifetime: thyroid, skin, and prostate.3 He described his overall battles with various cancers as “a sword hanging with a thread of silk [over] his head,” but he remained optimistic.3

“Throughout my life I have fought and won 3 different types of cancer,” said Siaulys, according to an article in Epoca Negócios.3 “As you notice, I will not yield easily to this new challenge….” In the same source, he described his long stay in Albert Einstein Hospital as the perfect opportunity to “finish the dream of writing a book.”3 He called his autobiography Mercenário ou Missionário (Mercenary or Missionary, Laramara Publishing, 2008), because he often described himself as a man with those 2 personalities, according to Aché staff.

“Victor Siaulys was a very generous man who was always surrounded by his friends and family,” said Dr. Pianowski, “He was a very cheerful person and he loved life.”

Siaulys is survived by his wife Mara and their 3 children Jonas, Tatiana, and Lara.

—Kelly Saxton Lindner


  1. Morre em São Paulo o empresário Victor Siaulys. Época Negócios. [Businessman Victor Siaulys dies in São Paulo. Business Times.] March 20, 2009. Available at:,,EMI64804-16377,00-MORRE+EM+SAO+PAULO+O+EMPRESARIO+VICTO R+SIAULYS.html. Accessed June 1, 2009.

  2. Sentidos. Livro conta a trajetória de sucesso do Victor Siaulys. [Book of the trajectory of success of Victor Siaulys. Sense.] July 21, 2008. Available at Accessed June 1, 2009.

  3. O céu pode esperar. Época Negócios. [Heaven Can Wait. Business Times.] January 20, 2009. Available at: Common/0,,EMI23229-16642,00-O+CEU+PODE+ESPERAR.html. Accessed June 1, 2009.