Franz Troxler


Franz Troxler was a Swiss chemist and colleague of Albert Hofmann’s at Sandoz Ltd in Switzerland.

He is arguably best known for the first laboratory synthesis of psilocybin with Dr. Hofmann in 1959.1 A few years later, the associated patent also included psilacetin (4-AcO-DMT) –a psilocybin analog and, likely, also a prodrug of psilocin– as well as other indole esters.2

Before this famed discovery, together Dr. Troxler and Dr. Hofmann also synthesized ALD-52 (an ergoline relative of LSD) and 2-Bromo-LSD (a serotonin receptor antagonist also related to LSD) in 19573 and the psilocybin derivative baeocystin in 1959.4 

Troxler and Hofmann produced various chemical modifications of LSD in hopes of identifying non-hallucinogenic structures that would effectively block serotonin.5 These investigations led to Dr. Troxler’s synthesis of the powerful serotonin antagonist methysergide. Methysergide was marketed as migraine prophylactic under the trade name Sansert after FDA approval in 1962. It is still prescribed today for vascular headaches. 

  1. Hofmann A, Heim R, Brack A, et al. Psilocybin und Psilocin, zwei psychotrope Wirkstoffe aus mexikanischen Rauschpilzen. Helvetica Chimica Acta. 1959;42(5):1557-1572. doi:10.1002/hlca.19590420518
  2. Hofmann A, Troxler F. Esters of indoles. US3075992A. January 1963.
  3. Troxler F, Hofmann A. Substitutionen am ringsystem der lysergsäure I. Substitutionen am indol-stickstoff. 43. Mitteilung über mutterkornalkaloide. Helvetica Chimica Acta. 1957;40(6):1706-1720. doi:10.1002/hlca.19570400619
  4. Troxler F, Seemann F, Hofmann A. Abwandlungsprodukte von Psilocybin und Psilocin. 2. Mitteilung über synthetische Indolverbindungen. Helvetica Chimica Acta. 1959;42(6):2073-2103.
  5. Hofmann A. LSD - My Problem Child. McGraw-Hill Book Company; 1980.