|Fate||Merged with Upjohn to form Pharmacia & Upjohn|
Pharmacia company was founded in 1911 in Stockholm, Sweden by pharmacist Gustav Felix Grönfeldt at the Elgen Pharmacy. The company is named after the Greek word φαρμακεία, transliterated pharmakeia, which means 'sorcery'. In the company's early days, much of its profits were derived from the "miracle medicine" Phospho-Energon.
During World War II, Swedish chemist Björn Ingelman (who worked for Arne Tiselius at Uppsala university) researched various uses for the polysaccharide dextran. Together with the medical researcher Anders Grönwall, he discovered that dextran could be used as a replacement for blood plasma in blood transfusions, for which there could be a large need in wartime. Pharmacia, which then was still a small company, was contacted in 1943 and its CEO Elis Göth was very interested. The product Macrodex, a dextran solution, was launched four years later.
Dextran-based products were to play a significant role in the further expansion of Pharmacia. In 1951, the company moved to Uppsala, Sweden, to get closer to the scientists with whom they cooperated, and Ingelman became its head of research. In 1959, Pharmacia pioneered gel filtration with its Sephadex products. These were also based on dextran and discoveries in Tiselius' department, this time by Jerker Porath and Per Flodin. In 1967 Pharmacia Fine Chemicals was established in Uppsala. In 1986 Pharmacia Fine Chemicals acquired LKB-produkter AB and changed name to Pharmacia Biotech. Pharmacia Biotech expanded their role in the "biotech revolution" through its acquisition of PL Laboratories from Pabst Brewery offering a line of recombinant DNA specialty research chemicals. Sold to private interests in the 1990s, Pharmacia was first merged with "Kabi Vitrum" to form Kabi Pharmacia with headquarters in Uppsala. In 1993, Kabi Pharmacia bought Farmitalia, an Italian company that had developed doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic.
In 1998, the company was divided into two business area. The pharmaceutical business became Pharmacia & Upjohn. The scientific instruments groups which sold chromatography resin, purification equipment, molecular biology reagents and electrophoresis products was purchased by Amersham in 1998 and was named Amersham Pharmacia Biotech. They later changed the name to Amersham Biosciences and ran their radio chemical and reagents business along with the highly profitable chromatography business. The Pharmacia Logo Drop remained as a highly recognized brand. Amersham Biosciences was sold to GE Healthcare in April 1998 to be come GE Healthcare Life Sciences. GE is currently divesting the life sciences arm selling the $2B+ business to Danaher for $21B and is expected to close in Q4 of 2019.
The following is an illustration of the company's mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and historical predecessors:
(Merged with Upjohn, 1995)
- Företagsamheten.se: Pharmacia[permanent dead link], accessed on June 17, 2009 (in Swedish)
- Elgen is old Swedish spelling for Älgen, which means "The Moose". Traditionally, almost all Swedish pharmacy shops have been named after animals.
- Pharma-industri.se: Krig, socker och samarbete lade grunden till företag i världsklass Archived 2010-08-20 at the Wayback Machine ("War, sugar and cooperation laid the foundation for a world-class company"), accessed on June 17, 2009 (in Swedish)
- Staff. News: Farmitalia bought by Kabi Pharmacia Archived 2016-04-20 at Wikiwix. Ann Oncol (1993) 4 (5): 345.