Josep Antoni Grífols i Roig crowned his specialization in the field of clinical analysis with the establishment of the Instituto Central de Análisis Clínicos, a clinical analysis laboratory in Barcelona in 1909.
It was here that his twin passions of diagnostic and therapeutic medicines converged in a way that was to lay the foundations of the company that would bear the family name.
The third great passion
It was also here that the key practical challenges of the day came into sharp focus. Chief among these was maintaining the sterility of samples, even when sent out to laboratories for testing. It was a challenge that was to add a third element to Grífols i Roig's expertise–technological innovation.
The fruits of that innovation were prolific. During these first years of his clinic he created eight different scientific instruments, the great majority of them destined to obtain blood samples in conditions of absolute asepsis, and always with minimal pain for the patient.
Making blood samples routine
Chief among these early inventions was his clinical analysis device, known as the analysis flebula. Patented in 1916 and incrementally refined until 1929, the device ensured that taking samples for blood testing could become a straightforward routine task for any doctor. It also guaranteed that any sample taken with the device would arrive at the analysis lab in an aseptic, uncontaminated condition.
The proof of its effectiveness–and the far-sightedness of its inventor–is that more than twenty years later an American company, Becton Dickinson, patented the Vacutainer, a device very similar to the analysis flebula. What's more, the instrument was an unqualified commercial success.
The search for sterility which drove technical innovation.