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2000: Pfizer joins forces with Warner-Lambert
In 2000, Pfizer acquired Warner-Lambert, bringing together two of the fastest-growing companies in the pharmaceutical industry and adding to Pfizer's global strengths and rich heritage. With Warner-Lambert, Pfizer gained product lines ranging from Parke-Davis branded pharmaceuticals to Listerine mouthwash to Schick and Wilkinson Sword wet-shave products.
Warner-Lambert: A History
Like Pfizer, Warner-Lambert traces its history back to the mid-1800s, the opportune days of a growing America. In 1856, William R. Warner launched his own drug store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An innovator at heart, he invented a tablet-coating process to encase harsh-tasting medicines in sugar shells. This innovation earned Warner a place in the Smithsonian Institution.
Warner gave up his retail shop in 1886. He then focused solely on drug manufacturing under the name William R. Warner & Co.
Meanwhile, in the American midwest, Jordan Wheat Lambert was launching Lambert Pharmacal company in St. Louis. Lambert's main product was Listerine® antiseptic, and it was marketed only to medical professionals. Lambert soon realized that Listerine had huge consumer marketing potential. In 1914, he began to mass-market Listerine through an advertising campaign that is still a case model in business schools.
Another St. Louis-based company, Pfeiffer Chemical, bought William R. Warner in 1908, kept the Warner name, and expanded the company through acquisition.
The paths of Warner´s company and Lambert´s firm intersected in 1955, with the creation of the Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company.
Warner-Lambert grew through acquisition. One of the earliest came in 1962, when the company bought American Chicle Company, a New York City-based company that was among the world's largest producers of gums and mints. American Chicle's flagship brand name, Adams, was well known around the world and its products included Dentyne®, Chiclets® and Trident® gums, and Certs® and Clorets® mints. In 1965, Warner-Lambert purchased a small cough tablet company in the United Kingdom and expanded the brand known as Halls® Mentholyptus to global stature.
In 1970, Warner-Lambert acquired the Schick® wet-shave product line from Eversharp. The company was founded in 1929 by Jacob Schick, whose magazine-loading razor was inspired by the repeating rifle.
1970 also saw the deal that transformed Warner-Lambert: the acquisition of Parke-Davis, once the world's largest drugmaker.
Parke-Davis traces its history back to 1866, when Hervey Parke and George Davis formed a small company in Detroit, Michigan.
They pioneered the standardization of medications and built the first modern pharmaceutical laboratory. They also developed the first organized, systematic method of clinically testing new drugs.
In the first half of the 20th Century, Parke-Davis introduced a number of breakthrough products, including the first bacterial vaccine, a pure form of adrenaline, and Dilantin® (phenytoin), the first widely available treatment for epilepsy and seizure. Dilantin® remains a valuable therapy against convulsions.
After World War II, Parke-Davis popularized a number of anti-infectives, developed the Salk polio vaccine for widespread use, and introduced a new line of oral contraceptives.
In 1976, the acquisition of Parke-Davis was approved by the United States Government and in the mid-1980s, Warner-Lambert refocused on three main businesses: prescription pharmaceuticals, consumer health care products, and gums and mints. The company grew with the introduction, in the early 1980s, of the first effective cholesterol-lowering agent, Lopid.
In 1993, Warner-Lambert acquired Wilkinson Sword, combining it with Schick® to create the world's second largest wet-shave business. However, a far greater expansion of the company came in 1996, when Warner-Lambert entered into a co-marketing agreement with Pfizer on Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium), a new entry into the statin class of lipid-lowering agents. Discovered by Parke-Davis Research and introduced in 1997, Lipitor® is the largest-selling pharmaceutical of any kind worldwide.
In 1999, Warner-Lambert acquired Agouron, based in La Jolla, California. Agouron is a leader in protein-based drug design and marketer of the protease inhibitor, Viracept® (nelfinavir mesylate).
Pfizer and Warner-Lambert announced their intention to join, a transaction completed in June 2000, creating the world's most valuable and fastest-growing pharmaceutical company.