From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

INBIFO is an acronym for Institut für Biologische Forschung, or Institute for Biological Research, a laboratory in Cologne (Germany) which was secretely owned by Philip Morris. Journalists became aware of Philip Morris's ownership of INBIFO in March 1996, and Philip Morris hastily put out a press release 'to minimise the risk of misinformation and misunderstandings". [1]

At that time Philip Morris had over 300 scientists and employees at three research facilities in Europe, or which INBIFO was one. However it was grouped together with CRC. So INBIFO had a staff of 128 of which 34 were professional scientist/engineers, while the CRC had a further 23 employees of which 3 were scientist. [2]

A speech appears to have been prepared (in the same file) to provide journalists with an outline of Philip Morris's research activities. It has been cleared by the legal department under Cathy Ellis. [[3]

History and purpose

PM acquired INBIFO on June 30, 1971. Helmut Wakeham, PM's Vice President of Research & Development, explained in an internal note that INBIFO offered "a locale where we might do some of the things which we are reluctant to do in this country [USA]."[1]

INBIFO's stated mission was "quantitative biological product evaluation" by using "comprehensive toxicological and physiological testing." Major activities the lab performed are listed as: product evaluation and modifications, product ingredients and ETS (environmental tobacco smoke)-related technical knowledge and smoke components. An inhalation lab was set up in INBIFO in 1973 and inhalation toxicology was a key feature of INBIFO. By around 1988, INBIFO had 126 employees on staff. "Publications" was also a stated activity. Scientists at INBIFO examined irritancy, mutagenicity, cytotoxicity, DNA damage, oxidative stress, tumor promoting activity, oncogenicity, cardiovascular and plaque formation caused by smoke from PM cigarettes (not an exhaustive list). In vitro and in vivo testing were both done at INBIFO. INBIFO had 53,000 square feet of floor space. Activities were divided into the following categories: Smoking and health, 17%, "expert opinions" 20%, product evaluation 39%, "capability extension" 24%. [2]

Secondhand smoke studies at INBIFO

According to a paper published in December 2005 in the journal Tobacco Control by Suzaynn Schick, Ph.D., who studied the extensive research done on cigarette smoke at INBIFO (using tobacco industry documents now posted on the Internet), between 1981 and 1989 PM performed at least 115 studies at the lab on the toxicity of secondhand tobacco smoke. These revealed that secondhand smoke is four times more toxic by inhalation and 2-6 times more tumorigenic on skin than mainstream smoke (the smoke the smoker himself inhales). PM never published any of the studies done at INBIFO, nor did the company otherwise share the information with governments or the public. [3]

When Germany severely restricted animal experiments in 1988, Philip Morris created a subsidiary of INBIFO, the Contract Research Center (CRC), in Brussels (Belgium), and relocated there all its animal test facilities.

INBIFO was renamed Philip Morris Research Laboratories GmbH in 2004.

A scientific report from INBIFO explains what different types of toxicity tests (assays) measure, and what assays were in use at the time at INBIFO. The paper is not dated, but the last page indicates it was produced, at earliest, in 1992:

From page four of the document:

Selection Criteria for in Vitro Toxicity Assays:

1) most informative
2) best validated

3) most helpful in a legislative context.[4]

Other SourceWatch Resources

External Resources


  1. Diethelm PA et al. (2004). "The whole truth and nothing but the truth? The research that Philip Morris did not want you to see.". The Lancet 366: 86–92. 
  2. INBIFO, Institute Fur Biologische Forschung History and Capabilities of INBIFO Cologne CRC Brussels Speech/presentation. 1988. Bates No.2505235055/5088
  3. Schick S, Glantz S. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California San Francisco. Philip Morris toxicological experiments with fresh sidestream smoke: more toxic than mainstream smoke Tobacco Control 2005;14:396-404
  4. Published Test Batteries and In Vitro Assays Used at INBIFO, Presentation. 16 pp. Undated. Bates No. 2501403676A/372

<tdo>search_term=INBIFO confidential</tdo>