Bockmühl studied chemistry and pharmacy. He worked as chemist in Germany. Methadone was developed in 1937 in Germany by scientists Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart working for I.G. Farbenindustrie AG at the Farbwerke Hoechst (it is synthesised from 1,1-diphenylbutane-2-sulfonic acid and dimethylamino-2-chloropropane) who were looking for a synthetic opioid that could be created with readily available precursors, to solve Germany's opium shortage problem. Bockmühl was married.