The MBC was established on the site of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research, founded in 1920 by Max Bergmann (1884-1944). Max Bergmann was a pioneer of peptide chemistry and worked at the Rockefeller Institute in New York after being forced leave Germany in 1933. Stein, Moore and Merrifield later continued and extended his work at the Rockefeller University. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research was totally destroyed during the Second World War. In 1948, the newly founded Institute of Fiber Technology, later part of the East German Academy of Science, was erected in its place. This institute gradually developed into a polymer research center and became a member of the Leibniz Association after German re-unification in 1990.