Abbott Laboratories is a US-based healthcare group specialising in medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers and vascular implants, diagnostic testing and "established pharmaceuticals" or generics. However it is perhaps best known as the world leader in infant and clinical nutrition with brands such as Ensure, PediaSure, Similac and Glucerna, and among the leaders in diabetes care with products such as FreeStyle blood glucose monitors. The acquisition of Indian manufacturer Piramal in 2010 put the group among the world's biggest manufacturers of generic pharmaceuticals, but its operations in developed markets were later sold to Mylan. Several other divisions have also been sold or spun-off. The biggest such disposal was Abbott's proprietary pharmaceutical division, spun off to shareholders in 2013 as AbbVie. Since then, the group has expanded its remaining operations with acquisitions, including St Jude Medical cardiovascular devices and Alere diagnostics in 2017. Miles White is the group's long-serving CEO. Revenues for 2017 were $27.4bn, the highest level since the spin-off of AbbVie, as a result of the contribution from acquisitions. Devices now form the group's biggest business, accounting for almost a third of revenues. Nutritionals contributed a further quarter. Chicago physician Dr Wallace Abbott began making precisely measured pills from medicinal plants in the late 1880s, initially for his own medical practice. Abbott Laboratories was formed in 1915 to supply other physicians as well and also began developing wholly synthetic medicines. Key products over the following decades included the sedative Nembutal, anaesthetic Pentothal and antibiotic Erythrocin. During the 1980s, Abbott was among the pioneers in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. In 1985, it developed the world's first diagnostic test for the disease, and later introduced treatment drugs Norvir and Kaletra.
Capsule checked 9th August 2018
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Who are the competitors of Abbott Labs? Key competitors in nutrition are Reckitt Benckiser/Mead Johnson and Nestle/Gerber. Competitors in cardiovascular devices include Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson. See Healthcare Sector index for other companies
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Sep 2016: Johnson & Johnson is to expand its already extensive eyecare business with the acquisition of Abbott Laboratories' Medical Optics division, which makes lasers and other equipment used to treat cataracts and correct vision. The deal price is $4.3bn, around four times the Abbott unit's revenues last year. J&J plans to combine the business with its existing vision business, which includes Acuevue contact lenses.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Jul 2014: Abbott Laboratories agreed to sell its substantial generic pharmaceutical business in developed markets to rival Mylan for $5.3bn in shares. Abbott retains its somewhat larger generic business in developing markets, and will end up with a stake of around 21% in the enlarged Mylan, already the global #3 in off-patent drugs behind Teva and Novartis. Like AbbVie, US-based Mylan wants to take advantage of the tax inversion loophole in US law before its likely closure. As part of the deal, Mylan will move its corporate HQ to the Netherlands.
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