GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

    GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) history, profile and corporate video

     GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) operates as a science-led global healthcare company that researches and develops a broad range of innovative medicines and brands. It operates in three primary areas of business: Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare. The Pharmaceuticals business researches, develops and makes available medicines that treat a variety of serious and chronic diseases. The Vaccines business produces pediatric and adult vaccines to prevent a range of infectious diseases including, hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, typhoid, influenza and bacterial meningitis. The Consumer Healthcare business markets a range of consumer health products based on scientific innovation. The company was founded on December 6, 1999 and is headquartered in Brentford, the United Kingdom.


    Glaxo Wellcome

    Burroughs Wellcome & Company was founded in 1880 in London by the American pharmacists Henry Wellcome and Silas Burroughs.The Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories opened in 1902.

    Glaxo was founded in¬†Bunnythorpe, New Zealand, in 1904. It was originally a baby food manufacturer, processing milk into a baby food of the same name. The product was sold under the slogan “Glaxo builds bonny babies” from 1908. Still visible on the main street of Bunnythorpe is a dairy factory (factory for drying and processing cows’ milk into powder) with the original Glaxo logo clearly visible; it is now a car repair shop.

    Glaxo became Glaxo Laboratories and opened new units in London in 1935. Glaxo Laboratories bought two companies, Joseph Nathan and Allen & Hanburys in 1947 and 1958 respectively. After the company bought Meyer Laboratories in 1978, it started to play an important role in the US market. In 1983 the American arm, Glaxo Inc., moved to Research Triangle Park (US headquarters/research) and Zebulon (US manufacturing) in North Carolina.

    In March 1995 Glaxo and Burroughs Wellcome Co. merged to form Glaxo Wellcome.¬†In that year Glaxo restructured is R&D operation, cutting about 10,000 jobs worldwide, closing its research and development facility in Beckenham, Kent, which was formerly Welcome’s principal research and development facility in the United Kingdom, and opening a Medicines Research Centre at Stevenage in England¬†Also in that year, Glaxo Wellcome acquired the California-based Affymax, a leader in the field ofcombinatorial chemistry.¬†Valtrex (valaciclovir) was launched as an anti-herpes successor to Zovirax (acyclovir).

    In 1999 Glaxo Wellcome was the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical company by revenues (behind¬†Novartis¬†and Merck), with a global market share of around 4 per cent.Glaxo Wellcome’s products included¬†Imigran¬†(for the treatment of migraine),¬†salbutamol¬†(Ventolin) (for the treatment of asthma),¬†Zovirax¬†(for the treatment of coldsores), andRetrovir¬†and¬†Epivir¬†(for the treatment of AIDS).¬†As of 2000, seven of Glaxo Wellcome’s products were among the world’s top 50 best-selling pharmaceutical products¬†and was the world’s largest maker of drugs for the treatment of asthma and HIV/AIDS.¬†It employed around 59,000 people worldwide, of whom around 13,400 were based in the United Kingdom.¬†Glaxo Wellcome had 76 operating companies.¬†It had 50 manufacturing facilities worldwide.¬†In the United Kingdom, the company had research and development facilities at Ware and Stevenage, Hertfordshire; Dartford and Beckenham, Kent; and Greenford in London.¬†It had manufacturing plants in the UK at Ulverston in Cumbria, Barnard Castle in County Durham, Speke on Merseyside and Montrose in north-east Scotland.¬†Outside of the UK, Glaxo Wellcome had research and development centres in North Carolina, United States and Japan, and production facilities in the United States, Europe and Far East.

    Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham announced their intention to merge on 17 January 2000. The merger was completed in December that year, forming GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

    SmithKline Beecham

    In 1843¬†Thomas Beecham¬†launched his¬†Beecham’s Pills¬†laxative in England giving birth to the¬†Beecham Group.¬†Beecham opened its first factory in¬†St Helens,¬†Lancashire, England, for rapid production of medicines in 1859. The original factory was closed in 1994 and passed to the local college for re-development. By the 1960s Beecham was extensively involved in pharmaceuticals.

    In 1830 John K. Smith opened its first pharmacy in Philadelphia. In 1865 Mahlon Kline joined the business, which 10 years later became Smith, Kline & Co. In 1891 it merged with French, Richard and Company. It changed its name to Smith Kline & French Laboratories in 1929 as it focused more on research. Years later Smith Kline & French Laboratories opened a new laboratory in Philadelphia; it then bought Norden Laboratories, a business doing research into animal health. Smith Kline & French Laboratories bought Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutiques (Belgium) in 1963 to focus on vaccines. The company started to expand globally, buying seven laboratories in Canada and the US in 1969. In 1982 it bought Allergan, a manufacturer of eye and skincare products. The company merged with Beckman Inc. later that year and changed its name to SmithKline Beckman.

    In 1988 SmithKline Beckman bought its biggest competitor, International Clinical Laboratories, and in 1989 merged with Beecham to form SmithKline Beecham plc. The headquarters of the company was moved to England. To expand research and development in the US, SmithKline Beecham bought a new research center in 1995. Another new research centre at New Frontiers Science Park in Harlow, England, was opened in 1997.

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    Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham announced their intention to merge on 17 January 2000. The merger was completed in December that year, forming GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).”

    *Information from and

    **Video published on YouTube by “GSK Australia



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