In 1899, an outbreak of bubonic plague spread from the port of Santos (SP) and
led the state public administration to create a laboratory for the production of an
antiplague serum, linked to the Bacteriological Institute of São Paulo (current
Adolfo Lutz Institute). This laboratory was installed at the Butantan Farm, in the
western part of the city of São Paulo. In February 1901, it was recognized as an
autonomous institution under the name of Instituto Serumtherapico. Its first
director was the physician Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, who studied public
health issues at the time.
Vital Brazil took upon himself to widely disseminate science, the institute's activities and the production of antitoxins, antivenoms and vaccines, which has earned him worldwide recognition by the scientific community.
More than a century after its foundation, Butantan is now an outstanding center for biomedical research, which integrates scientific and technological research, production of immunobiologicals and technical-scientific dissemination, seeking innovation through its permanent update and integration of resources.