Abbott Laboratories is an American health care company with headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois, United States. The company was founded by Chicago physician Wallace Calvin Abbott in 1888 to formulate known drugs; it eventually grew to also sell research-based drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and nutritional products. It split off the research-based pharmaceuticals into AbbVie in 2013. In 2017, revenues were $27.39 billion.
Abbott has a broad range of branded generic pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, and nutrition products. The company’s in-vitro diagnostics business performs immunoassays and blood screening. Its medical tests and diagnostic instrument systems are used worldwide by hospitals, laboratories, blood banks, and physician offices to diagnose and monitor diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, cancer, heart failure and metabolic disorders, as well as assess other indicators of health. In 1985, the company developed the first HIV blood-screening test.
Abbott Point-of-Care manufactures diagnostic products for blood analysis to provide health care professionals diagnostics information at the point of patient care. Abbott also provides point-of-care cardiac assays to the emergency department.
In 1888 at the age of 30, Wallace Abbott (1857–1921), an 1885 graduate of the University of Michigan, founded the Abbott Alkaloidal Company in Ravenswood, Chicago. At the time, he was a practicing physician and owned a drug store. His innovation was the use of the active part of a medicinal plant, generally an alkaloid (e.g., morphine, quinine, strychnine and codeine), which he formed into tiny “dosimetric granules”. This approach was successful since it produced more consistent and effective dosages for patients. In 1922 he moved the company from Ravenswood to North Chicago, Illinois.
Abbott’s first international affiliate was in London in 1907, and the company later added an affiliate in Montreal, Canada (Fact 21). Abbott started operations in Pakistan as a marketing affiliate in 1948; the company has steadily expanded to comprise a work force of over 1500 employees. Currently two manufacturing facilities located at Landhi and Korangi in Karachi continue to produce pharmaceutical products. Expansion continued in 1962 when Abbott entered into a joint venture with Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, to manufacture radio-pharmaceuticals. In 1964, it merged with Ross Laboratories, making Ross a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbott, and Richard Ross gained a seat on Abbott’s board of directors until his retirement in 1983. In 1965, Abbott’s expansion in Europe continued with offices in Italy and France. Abbott Laboratories has been present in India for over 100 years through its subsidiary Abbott India Limited and it is currently India‘s largest healthcare products company..
According to Harvard professor Lester Grinspoon and Peter Hedblom, “In 1966 Abbott Laboratories sold the equivalent of two million doses of methamphetamine in powder form to a Long Island criminal dealer”.
In 2001, the company acquired Knoll, the pharmaceutical division of BASF. In 2002, it divested the Selsun Blue brand to Chattem. Later in 2002, the company sold Clear Eyes and Murine to Prestige Brands. In 2004, it spun off its hospital products division into a new 14,000 employee company named Hospira, and acquired TheraSense, a diabetes-care company, which it merged with its MediSense division to become Abbott Diabetes Care. In 2006, Abbott assisted Boston Scientific in its purchase of Guidant Corporation. As part of the agreement, Abbott purchased the vascular device division of Guidant. In 2007, Ross was renamed Abbott Nutrition.
In 2007, Abbott acquired Kos Pharmaceuticals for $3.7 billion in cash. At the time of acquisition, Kos marketed Niaspan, which raises levels of “good,” or HDL, cholesterol and Advicor, a Niaspan combination drug for patients with multiple lipid disorders.
In January 2007, the company agreed to sell its in vitro diagnostics and Point-of-Care diagnostics divisions to General Electric for more than $8 billion. These units were slated to be integrated into the GE Healthcare business unit. The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of Abbott and GE and was targeted to close in the first half of 2007. However, on July 11, 2007, Abbott announced that it had terminated its agreement with GE because the parties could not agree on the terms of the deal.
On September 8, 2007, the company completed the sale of the UK manufacturing plant at Queenborough to Aesica Pharmaceuticals, a private equity-owned UK manufacturer. No announcements have been made restricting the movement of staff to Abbott unlike other sell outs. On February 26, 2009, the company completed its acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics based in Santa Ana, California. In 2009, Abbott opened a satellite research and development facility at Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In February 2010, Abbott completed its $6.2 billion (EUR 4.5 billion) acquisition of the pharmaceuticals unit of Solvay S.A.. This provided Abbott with a large and complementary portfolio of pharmaceutical products and also expanding its presence in key emerging markets.
On March 22, 2010, the company completed its acquisition of a Hollywood, Florida-based LIMS company STARLIMS. Under the terms of the deal, Abbott Laboratories acquired the company for $14 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $123 million. On May 21, 2010, Abbott Laboratories said it would buy Piramal Healthcare Ltd.’s Healthcare Solutions unit for $2.2 billion to become the biggest drug company in India.
In October 2011, the company announced that it planned to separate into two companies, one research-based pharmaceuticals and the other in medical devices, generic drugs sold internationally, and consumer products, with device company retaining the Abbott name. The company announced that the other company would be named AbbVie in March 2012. In preparation for the reorganization, Abbott made severe budget cuts and took a $478 million charge in Q3-2012 to pay for the restructuring. The separation was effective as of January 1, 2013. AbbVie was officially listed in the New York Stock Exchange on January 2, 2013.
On May 16, 2014, it was announced that Abbott would acquire the holding company Kalo Pharma Internacional S.L. for $2.9 billion in order to secure the 73% it held of Chilean pharmaceutical company, CFR Pharmaceuticals, which the company said would more than double its branded generic drug portfolio.
In June 2014, the company entered into a definitive agreement to take over Russian pharmaceutical manufacturer Veropharm (Voronezh) in a deal worth $631 million. Abbott, which already employs 1,400 people in Russia, said it planned to set up a manufacturing presence in the country when the deal closed.
In February 2016, the company announced it would acquire Alere for $5.8 billion. In late April, of the same year, Abbott announced it would acquire St. Jude Medical for $25 billion (each share receiving $46.75 in cash & 0.8708 shares of Abbott common stock, equating to an approximate value of $85).
In October 3, 2017, the company closed the Alere acquisition making the surviving entity the market leader player in the $7 billion point-of-care diagnostic space within the broader $50 billion in-vitro diagnostics market with this takeover. With the acquisition of Alere, the company also obtain the subsidiary Arriva Medical, which is the largest mail-order diabetic supplier. Arriva Medical announced business closure after Abbott acquisition effective December 31, 2017
In August 2018, Reuters reported that “Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) is among the top five companies for branded generic drugs in Russia, the company’s chief financial officer, Brian Yoor, said in January.”
In January 2019 Abbott exercised its option to purchase Cephea Valve Technologies, Inc. who are developing a less-invasive replacement heart valve for people with mitral valve disease.
For the fiscal year 2017, Abbott Laboratories Insurance reported earnings of US$477 million, with an annual revenue of US$27.390 billion, a decline of 31.4% over the previous fiscal cycle. Abbott Laboratories’s shares traded at over $47 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at US$119.3 billion in October 2018.
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On 19 March 2019, it was reported that Abbot was a long-term user of the Double Irish tax structure, a legal but controversial Irish taxation tool used by U.S. multinationals to reduce U.S. corporate taxes on non-U.S profits. Abbott’s Irish holding company, the Bermuda-resident Abbott Laboratories Vascular Enterprises (ALVE), employed no staff in 2017 but was responsible for distributing Abbot’s products and licensing its technology worldwide. Newly filed accounts showed that ALVE was incorporated in 2003 and had a pre-tax profit of €2 billion in 2016 and 2017 on revenues of €5.2 billion; no taxation was paid on these profits. ALVE had never filed accounts in Ireland since 2003 as it was structured as an unlimited liability company (ULL), however, new EU accounts directives required ALVE to file Irish accounts in 2018. These accounts listed ALVE’s registered office as the address of Ireland’s largest tax-law firm, Matheson, who have been identified with Double Irish tax structures for Microsoft and Google.
Miles D. White is Chairman and (CEO). He joined Abbott in 1984, serving in management positions including senior vice president of diagnostic operations and executive vice president. He was elected to the Board of Directors in April 1998, to Chief Executive Officer in 1998, and to Chairman of the Board in April 1999
Along with being ranked 134th on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest U.S.-based corporation, Abbott was named one of the 2014 Top 20 Employers by the journal Science and listed as a Top 10 company for women by Working Mother magazine and the National Association for Female Executives. The company has also been named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine every year since 1984 – ranking No. 1 in medical equipment in 2014 and 2015. Abbott has also been recognized for 11 consecutive years for sustainability leadership through its inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). The Top Employers Institute designated Abbott as a great place to work in Europe and China in 2014.DiversityInc magazine has recognized Abbott repeatedly as a Top 50 company for diversity; and, additionally, the Dave Thomas Foundation ranked the company as a best company thanks to its generous adoption benefits
In March 2003, British company Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) stated its wish to “initiate discussions regarding the applicability of the royalty offset provisions for Humira” (Adalimumab) with Abbott Laboratories in the High Court of London. In December 2004, the judgment ruled for CAT.
Abbott was required to pay CAT US$255 million, some of which was to be passed to its partners in development. Of this sum, the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom) (MRC) received US$191M, and in addition, Abbott was asked to pay the MRC a further US$7.5M over five years from 2006, providing that Humira remains on the market
On October 2, 2012, the company was charged with a $500 million fine and $198.5 million forfeiture for illegal marketing, and in a plea agreement was assessed the second-largest criminal fine in U.S. history for a drug company. U.S. District Court Judge Samuel G Wilson of the Western District of Virginia imposed it given Abbott’s guilty plea related to its unlawful promotion of Depakote for uses not approved by the FDA. Abbott had advertised Depakote to be used to control behavioral disturbances for patients with dementia and schizophrenia, without FDA approval. In addition, Abbott marketed Depakote for other psychiatric conditions in adults, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug withdrawal and psychiatric conditions in children, including conduct disorders, attention deficit disorder and autism. The court also ordered Abbott to a five-year term of probation and court supervision. Shareholders then brought derivative suits against the company directors for breach of fiduciary duty The parties reached a negotiated settlement in which Abbott agreed to beef up its internal controls and paid the plaintiffs’ attorney fees.
Since 2015 Abbott is the title sponsor of the World Marathon Majors