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. Its diagnostics division played a big part in the response to Covid in 2020, manufacturing and processing some 400m tests. However Abbott is perhaps best known as the world leader in infant and clinical nutrition with brands such as PediaSure, Similac and PediaLyte for infants and Ensure and Glucerna for adults. It is also 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. He stepped down in 2020 after 20 years as the group's leader, but remains executive chairman for a continuing period. His successor as CEO is Robert Ford, previously president & COO. Revenues for 2020 were $34.6bn, the highest level since the spin-off of AbbVie, partly as a result of the contribution from acquisitions. Net income was just under $4.5bn. Medical devices now form the group's biggest business, accounting for just over a third of revenues, or $11.8bn. That included $3.3bn from FreeStyle and other diabetes care products. Diagnostics contributed $10.8bn; Nutritionals added $7.6bn; and the remaining $4.3bn came from generic medicines. 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 4th June 2021
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Historical profile information for Abbott Laboratories
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Jun 2021: "Now You Know". As a general rule, medical ads rarely stray far beyond the standard easy-to-parody cliches, especially those from - no offence, guys - specialised healthcare marketing agencies. You know the sort of thing: "My [insert medical condition] used to stop me from enjoying life, but now I take [Product X] and I feel 30 years younger..." That's why you need a high quality mainstream creative agency to cut through all the guff and grab eyeballs with a different approach. Abbott Laboratories clearly came to the same conclusion, and hired Anomaly New York to develop this splendid campaign for diabetes monitor FreeStyle Libre. It ticks all the boxes - imagination, humour, medical advice and a convincing argument - while seizing your full attention for the whole wild 90-second ride. Hey Big Pharma, more like this please!
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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