Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is an American medical devices and health care company with headquarters in Abbott Park, Illinois, United States. The company was founded by Chicago physician Wallace Calvin Abbott in 1888 to formulate known drugs; today, it sells medical devices, diagnostics, branded generic medicines and nutritional products. It split off the research-based pharmaceuticals into AbbVie in 2013.

Abbott Laboratories
Traded asNYSE: ABT
S&P 100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Founded1888 (1888) (as Abbott Alkaloidal Company)
FounderDr. Wallace Calvin Abbott
HeadquartersAbbott Park, Illinois, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Miles D. White
(Chairman & CEO)
Brian B. Yoor
(Executive VP & CFO)
Robert B. Ford
(President & COO)[1]
ProductsBranded generic medicines
Medical devices
Diagnostic assays
Dietary supplements
Revenue US$30.578 billion (2018)[2]
US$3.650 billion (2018)[2]
US$2.368 billion (2018)[2]
Total assets US$67.173 billion (2018)[2]
Total equity US$30.524 billion (2018)[2]
Number of employees
~103,000 (December 2018)[2]
Footnotes / references

Among its well-known products across the medical devices, diagnostics, and nutrition product divisions are Pedialyte, Similac, Ensure, Glucerna, ZonePerfect, FreeStyle Libre, i-STAT and MitraClip.


Foundation and early history

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.[4] In 1922, the company moved from Ravenswood to North Chicago, Illinois.

International expansion

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7].

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".[8]

21st century

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.[9] 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 11 July 2007, Abbott announced that it had terminated its agreement with GE because the parties could not agree on the terms of the deal.[10]

On 8 September 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 26 February 2009, the company completed its acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics based in Santa Ana, California. Abbott sold this business to Johnson & Johnson in February 2017.[11] In 2009, Abbott opened a satellite research and development facility at Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[12]

In February 2010, Abbott completed its $6.2 billion (EUR 4.5 billion) acquisition of the pharmaceuticals unit of Solvay S.A..[13] This provided Abbott with a large and complementary portfolio of pharmaceutical products and also expanded its presence in key emerging markets.[14]

On 22 March 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 21 May 2010, Abbott Laboratories said it would buy Piramal Healthcare Ltd.'s Healthcare Solutions unit for $2.2[15] billion to become the biggest drug company in India.[16]


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 diagnositics, with the latter retaining the Abbott name.[17][18] Abbott Nutrition, whose products include Similac, Pedialyte, Glucerna, and Ensure, also retained the Abbott name.[19] The company announced that the other company would be named AbbVie in March 2012.[19] In preparation for the reorganization, Abbott made severe budget cuts and took a $478 million charge in Q3-2012 to pay for the restructuring.[20] The separation was effective as of 1 January 2013. AbbVie was officially listed in the New York Stock Exchange on 2 January 2013.[21]

Further developments

On 16 May 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.[22][23][24]

In December 2014, the company acquired Russian pharmaceutical manufacturer Veropharm (Voronezh) in a deal worth $410 million, which included three manufacturing facilities.[25][22] 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.[26]

In February 2016, the company announced it would acquire Alere for $5.8 billion.[27][28] In January 2017, 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).[22][29][30]

In 2017, the FDA approved Abbott's FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system. The system is designed to read glucose levels through a self-applied sensor and does not require standard finger sticks.[31]

On 3 October 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.[32] 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 31 December 2017[33]

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."[34]

In November 2018, Abbott became the first medical device company to introduce a smartphone app glucose reader in the United States when it received FDA clearance to launch FreeStyle LibreLink.[35]

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.[36]

Acquisition history

Abbott Laboratories Acquisitions
  • Abbott Laboratories (Est. 1885, Abbott Alkaloidal Company)
    • Ross Laboratories (Acq 1964)
    • SmithKline Beecham (Acq 1982, later sold)
    • Knoll (Acq 2001)
    • Selsun Blue (Sold to Chattem 2002)
    • Murine (Sold to Prestige Brands2002)
    • Clear Eyes (Sold to Prestige Brands2002)
    • Guidant (vascular device division) (Acq 2006)
    • TheraSense (Acq 2004)
    • Advanced Medical Optics (Acq 2009)
      • IntraLase Corp (Acq 2007)
    • Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Acq 2010)
    • STARLIMS (Acq 2010)
      • Lab Data Management Ltd (Acq 2008)
    • IDEV Technologies (Acq 2013)
    • OptiMedica Corporation (Acq 2013)
    • Veropharm (Acq 2014)
    • Topera, Inc (Acq 2014)
    • Kalo Pharma Internacional S.L. (Acq 2014)
    • Alere (Acq 2016)
      • Epocal, Inc. (Acq 2013)
      • Arriva Medical (Acq 2012)
    • St. Jude Medical (Est 1976, Acq 2016)
      • Pacesetter, Inc. (Acq 1994)
      • Daig Corporation (Acq 1996)
      • Heart Valve Company (Acq 1996)
      • Biocor Industria (Acq 1996)
      • Ventritex (Acq 1997)
      • Tyco International (Angio-Seal division) (Acq 1999)
      • Endocardial Solutions (Acq 2005)
      • Advanced Neuromodulation Systems (Acq 2005)
      • MediGuide (Acq 2008)
      • AGA Medical (Acq 2010)
      • LightLab Imaging (Acq 2010)
      • Nanostim Inc (Acq 2013)
      • Endosense (Acq 2013)
      • CardioMEMS Inc. (Acq 2014)
      • Spinal Modulation (Acq 2015)
      • Thoratec Corporation (Acq 2015)
    • Cephea Valve Technologies, Inc. (Acq 2019)



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.[37]

Year Revenue
in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total Assets
in mil. USD$
Price per Share
in USD$
2005 22,338 3,372 29,141 17.37
2006 22,476 1,717 36,178 17.46
2007 25,914 3,606 39,714 21.34
2008 29,528 4,881 42,419 21.89
2009 30,765 5,746 52,582 19.51
2010 35,167 4,626 60,574 20.75
2011 21,407 4,728 60,277 21.26
2012 19,050 5,963 67,235 26.57
2013 19,657 2,576 42,953 31.90 69,000
2014 20,247 2,284 41,207 37.39 77,000
2015 20,405 4,423 41,247 43.16 74,000
2016 20,998 1,400 52,666 38.65 75,000
2017 27,390 477 76,250 47.50 99,000
2018 30,578 2,368 67,173 69.50 103,000


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.[38] 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.[38] 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.[38] 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.[38] 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.[39][38]


Abbott's core businesses focus on diagnostics, medical devices, branded generic medicines and nutritional products, which have been supplemented through acquisitions. As of 2018, the firm's divisions are:

  • Abbott Diabetes Care (ADC):[22] Glucose monitoring devices
  • Abbott Diagnostics Division (ADD):[22] Hematology, immunodiagnostic, oncology and clinical chemistry
  • Abbott Molecular Diagnostics (AMD)[22]
  • Abbott Nutrition (AN):[22] baby nutrition (e.g., Similac, Isomil, and Gain), adult health products (e.g., Ensure and ZonePerfect) and special dietary needs (e.g., Glucerna and Juven)
  • Abbott Point of Care (APOC):[22] Includes the i-Stat analyzer for bedside testing
  • Abbott Vascular (AV)[22]
  • Abbott Cardiovascular & Neuromodulation (CN): Formerly St. Jude Medical.
  • Abbott Rapid Diagnostics (ARDx): Formerly Alere.
  • Established Pharmaceuticals Division (EPD):[22] Branded generic drugs sold exclusively in developing markets.


As of 2017, Abbott Laboratories shares are mainly held by institutional investors (The Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street Corporation and others).[40]


Miles D. White is Chairman and (CEO).[20] 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.[41]

Management practices

Besides being ranked 134th on the Fortune 500 list of largest US-based corporations in 2015, 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 number one 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.



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.[42]

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 2 October 2012, the company was charged with a $500 million fine and $198.5 million forfeiture for illegal marketing of Depakote for uses not approved by the FDA. The court also ordered Abbott to a five-year term of probation and court supervision.[43] Shareholders then brought derivative suits against the company directors for breach of fiduciary duty.[44][45]

Following Abbott's spinoff of its research-based pharmaceuticals business, it no longer owns the commercial rights and associated responsibilities for Humira and Depakote.[46]


Since 2015, Abbott has been the title sponsor of the World Marathon Majors.[47]

See also

Notes and references

  1. "After 20 Years, Abbott Labs CEO Miles White Has Successor in Mind". Forbes.
  2. "Abbott Laboratories Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 2019.
  3. "US SEC: Form 10-K Abbott Laboratories". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  4. "Abbott Laboratories Company History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  5. "About Us".
  7. "It's essential to be part of the extraordinary future India is building: Miles D. White".
  8. Grinspoon, Lester; Hedblom, Peter (1975). The Speed Culture: Amphetamine Use and Abuse in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780674831926. OCLC 1362148.
  9. Smith, Scott S. (11 January 2018). "Miles White's Bold Moves Made Abbott Laboratories A Global Force". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  10. Layne, Rachel; Lopatto, Elizabeth (11 July 2007). "GE, Abbott End $8.13 Billion Diagnostic Sale Deal (Update2)". Bloomberg News.
  11. "Johnson & Johnson completes $4.3B acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics in Santa Ana". Orange County Register.
  12. "Abbott Labs leasing space in UI research park". The News Gazette.
  13. Abbott Press Release (16 February 2010). "Abbott Completes Acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  14. "Abbott Laboratories Feb 2010 Current Report, Form 8-K, Filing Date Feb 16, 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  15. Abbott 2011 annual report, p43
  16. Peter Loftus and Rumman Ahmed. "Abbott Labs to Buy Indian Business". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  17. "Abbott Labs to Split into 2 Companies". The New York Times Dealbook. 19 October 2011.
  18. Rockoff, Jonathan D. (20 October 2011). "Abbott to Split into Two Companies". Wall Street Journal.
  19. Michael J. De La Merced and Bruce Japsen. "Abbott Labs to Split into 2 Companies". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  20. Frost, Peter (17 October 2012), "Abbott lays off 550", Chicago Tribune, archived from the original on 19 October 2012, retrieved 16 November 2012
  21. Armstrong, Drew (2 January 2013). "AbbVie Rises on First Day of Trading After Abbott Spinoff". Bloomberg News.
  22. SA Transcripts (20 July 2016). "Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Miles D. White on Q2 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  23. Bloomberg Release (16 May 2014). "Abbott to acquire CFR Pharmaceuticals". Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  24. Staff (15 June 2014). "Abbott Grows Branded Generics with $3.3B CFR Acquisition". News | Industry Watch. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (Paper). 34 (12). p. 8.
  25. "Abbott Acquires Veropharm To Expand Presence in Russia". Forbes. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  26. "Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Key Developments —".
  27. "Abbott to Acquire Alere for $5.8B". GEN.
  28. Michelle Cortez (1 February 2016). "Abbott's $5.8 Billion Deal for Alere Is Device Sector's Latest".
  29. Michelle Cortez (28 April 2016). "Abbott to Buy St. Jude Medical in Deal Valued at About $25 Billion".
  30. "Abbott-St. Jude Combination: Why It Makes Sense". 28 April 2016.
  31. "FDA approves Abbott's Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system". Medical Device Network. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  32. "Abbott to Gain from Alere's Takeover Due for Oct 3 Closure". GEN.
  33. "Embattled Arriva Medical closes". GEN.
  34. "Factbox: U.S. companies with exposure to Russia". Reuters. 9 August 2018.
  35. "With new FDA clearance, Abbott Freestyle Libre users can ditch handheld readers for an app". Mobi Health News. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  36. "Abbott To Acquire Cephea Valve Technologies, Inc". BioSpace.
  37. "Abbott Laboratories Revenue 2006–2018 | ABT". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  38. Peter Bodkin (19 March 2019). "How the IDA's top client used Ireland to siphon billions offshore tax-free". Retrieved 19 March 2019. Meanwhile, through a myriad of subsidiaries and system of inter-company charges involving a variation on the infamous so-called 'double Irish' structure, its local operations have also legally shaved their tax bills with the Exchequer despite pulling in huge sales.
  39. Damian Paletta; Kate Linebaugh (15 October 2013). "Dublin Moves to Block Controversial Tax Gambit". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 March 2019. At least 125 major U.S. companies have registered several hundred subsidiaries or investment funds at 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, a seven–story building in Dublin’s docklands, according to a review of government and corporate records by The Wall Street Journal. The common thread is the building’s primary resident: Matheson, an Irish law firm that specializes in ways companies can use Irish tax law.
  40. "Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Ownership Summary".
  41. Schwabel, Dan. "Miles White: Reflections From 18 Years As The Chairman And CEO of Abbott". Forbes. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  42. "Cambridge Antibody Wins Lawsuit Against Abbott Labs (Update5) – Bloomberg".
  43. Abbott Labs to Pay $1.5 Billion to Resolve Criminal & Civil Investigations of Off-label Promotion of Depakote, Press Release, United States Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, 7 May 2012. Accessed 17 August 2014.
  44. U.S. ex rel. McCoyd v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:07-cv-00081 (W.D. Va.); U.S. ex rel. Mulcahy v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:08-cv-0054 (W.D. Va.); U.S. ex rel. Dietzler v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:09-cv-00051 (W.D. Va.); U.S. ex rel. Spetter v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:10-cv-00006 (W.D. Va.).
  45. "Abbott, Shareholders Agree To Settle Depakote Marketing Suit – Law360".
  46. "Abbott ultra-bullish on Humira despite spinoff plan". Reuters.
  47. "ABBOTT CELEBRATES THE POWER OF HEALTH AND ACHIEVEMENT AS FIRST-EVER TITLE SPONSOR OF WORLD MARATHON MAJORS". World Marathon Majors. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
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