Bristol-Myers Squibb

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) is an American multinational pharmaceutical company. Headquartered in New York City, BMS is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and consistently ranks on the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations. For fiscal 2021, it had a total revenue of $46.4 billion.

Bristol Myers Squibb manufactures prescription pharmaceuticals and biologics in several therapeutic areas, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psychiatric disorders.

BMS’s primary research and development (R&D) sites are located in Lawrence, New Jersey (formerly Squibb, near Princeton), Summit, New Jersey, formerly HQ of Celgene, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Redwood City, California, and Seville in Spain, with other sites in Devens and Cambridge, Massachusetts, East Syracuse, New York, Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium, Tokyo, Japan, Bangalore, India, and Wirral, United Kingdom. BMS previously had an R&D site in Wallingford, Connecticut (formerly Bristol-Myers).

The Squibb corporation was founded in 1858 by Edward Robinson Squibb in Brooklyn, New York. Squibb was known as an advocate of quality control and high purity standards early within the pharmaceutical industry. He went on to self-publish an alternative to the U.S. Pharmacopeia titled Squibb’s Ephemeris of Materia Medica, after failing to convince the American Medical Association to incorporate higher purity standards.

Materia Medica, Squibb products, and Edward Squibb’s opinion on the fundamentals of pharmacy are found in many medical papers of the late 1800s. The American Journal of Pharmacy published more than one hundred papers of Squibb’s research surrounding the industry.

The sons of Edward Squibb sold the company to Lowell M. Palmer and Theodore Weicker in 1905, who incorporated the company. Around this time, the Squibb logo was developed, which represented the company’s products of “uniformity, purity, efficacy, and reliability based on research.”

Squibb Corporation served as a major supplier of medical goods to the Union Army during the American Civil War, providing portable medical kits containing morphine, surgical anesthetics, and quinine for the treatment of malaria (which was endemic in most of the Eastern United States at that time).

In 1944, Squibb opened the world’s largest penicillin plant in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In 1887, Hamilton College graduates William McLaren Bristol and John Ripley Myers purchased the Clinton Pharmaceutical company of Clinton, New York. In May 1898, they decided to rename it Bristol, Myers and Company. Following Myers’ death in 1899, Bristol changed the name to the Bristol-Myers Corporation.

During the 1890s, the company introduced its first nationally recognized product Sal Hepatica, a laxative mineral salt, followed by Ipana toothpaste in 1901. Other divisions were Clairol (hair colors and haircare) and Drackett (household products such as Windex and Drano).

In 1943, Bristol-Myers acquired Cheplin Biological Laboratories, a producer of acidophilus milk in East Syracuse, New York, and converted the plant to produce penicillin for the World War II Allied forces. After the war, the company renamed the plant Bristol Laboratories in 1945 and entered the civilian antibiotics market, where it faced competition from Squibb.

Penicillin production at the East Syracuse plant ended in 2005, when it became less expensive to produce overseas. As of 2010, the facility was used for the manufacturing process development and production of other biologic medicines for clinical trials and commercial use.

In 1989, Bristol-Myers and Squibb merged and became Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In 1999, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded Bristol-Myers Squibb the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest recognition for technological achievement, “for extending, and enhancing human life through innovative pharmaceutical research and development and for redefining the science of clinical study through groundbreaking and hugely complex clinical trials that are recognized models in the industry.

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