Bristol-Myers Squibb: History

Our company has a strong legacy of innovation that began in New York in 1858 when Edward R. Squibb, M.D., founded a pharmaceutical company in Brooklyn, and in 1887 when two friends, William McLaren Bristol and John Ripley Myers purchased a struggling drug manufacturing firm in Clinton. Together, they laid the foundation for our company today — a global BioPharma leader that continues this legacy of innovation.

As a young U.S. Navy doctor, Edward Robinson Squibb (1819-1900) was so unimpressed by the quality of medicines available on ships during the Mexican War that he pitched the unfit drugs overboard. In 1858, he founded his own pharmaceutical laboratory in Brooklyn, New York. E.R. Squibb, M.D. was dedicated to the production of consistently pure medicines.
Squibb became the source of medicines for the Union Army during the Civil War. He invented the Squibb pannier—a compact wooden medicine chest used on the battlefield—filled with some 50 medicines to treat casualties. The chest sold for about $100, and included ether and chloroform for use as an anesthetic during amputations, quinine and whiskey to treat symptoms of malaria, and herbal treatments for dysentery and other diseases that ravaged the unsanitary military camps.
William McLaren Bristol (left) and his friend, John Ripley Myers, invested $5,000 into the Clinton Pharmaceutical Company, a failing drug manufacturing firm located in Clinton, New York. The company was officially incorporated on December 13, 1887, with Bristol as president and Myers as vice president.
Squibb retired in 1895 and passed most of the responsibility for managing the firm to his sons, Charles and Edward. The company became known as E.R. Squibb & Sons.
Bristol-Myers first nationally recognized product, termed a poor man’s spa by chief chemist J. Leroy Webber, was a laxative mineral salt that, when dissolved in water, reproduced the taste and effects of the natural mineral waters of Bohemia. Christened Sal Hepatica, the new product sold modestly at first. By 1903 however, Sal Hepatica was a best seller.
Bristol and Myers changed the name from Clinton to Bristol, Myers Company (a hyphen would replace the comma after Myers’ death in 1899, when the company became a corporation). Not until 1900 did Bristol-Myers break through into the black—where it has remained ever since.
Another runaway success of this era was Ipana toothpaste, the first toothpaste to include a disinfectant in its formula and thus protect against infection of bleeding gums. The demand for Sal Hepatica and Ipana transformed Bristol-Myers from a regional company into an international one.
The Squibb sons sold the company to Lowell M. Palmer and Theodore Weicker, and the company became incorporated. That same year, land was purchased in New Brunswick, New Jersey, for establishment of an ether production plant. Around the same time, the prototype of the Squibb logo was designed. The logo represented product uniformity, purity, efficacy and reliability based on research.
Squibb coins the slogan: "The priceless ingredient in every product is the honor and integrity of its maker.” It was the most effective advertising copy ever used by Squibb. On left is a 1920's advertisement for dental cream and Cod Liver Oil.
Bristol-Myers’ gross profits topped $1 million and its products were sold in 26 countries. Shares held by John Myers’ heirs became available for sale, triggering a series of moves that, by 1929, turned Bristol-Myers into a publicly held company on the New York Stock Exchange.
The postwar depression prompted Bristol-Myers to jettison its pharmaceutical business and devote itself entirely to its specialties: Sal Hepatica and Ipana, its two big winners, and a dozen or so assorted toiletries, antiseptics and cough syrups. Company headquarters were established in Manhattan and, having shifted squarely into the consumer products arena, Bristol-Myers began advertising its products, such as Vitalis hair tonic for men and Mum, an underarm deodorant, directly to the public.
The Squibb Institute for Medical Research was established in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The institute made great advancements for the pharmaceutical world, especially regarding antibiotics.
Squibb obtained cultures of penicillium notatum from the United Kingdom and developed deep tank fermentation processes for the production of penicillin. By 1943, Squibb was producing penicillin in 15,000-gallon tanks in its New Brunswick, New Jersey, facility—the largest penicillin production plant in the world.
Bristol-Myers bought Cheplin Laboratories—a Syracuse, New York, manufacturer of acidophilus milk—and broke ground for a new penicillin plant. Cheplin became a key supplier of penicillin for the Allied armed forces during World War II. After the war it was clear that penicillin and other antibiotics were an immense opportunity for Bristol-Myers. Cheplin was renamed Bristol Laboratories in 1945 and Frederic N. Schwartz was put in charge.
From 1945 to the 1960s, Bristol-Myers and Squibb were significant participants in the antibiotic age, enlarging their facilities and producing streptomycin, tetracycline and other discoveries.
Squibb International was incorporated and the company expanded into South America and Europe while building manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Italy and Argentina.
Squibb received the Lasker Award, one of the most respected science prizes in the world, for discovering antitubercular properties of Nydrazid (isoniazid), an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis.
Bristol-Myers purchased Clairol, a company founded by the husband-and-wife team of Lawrence Gelb and Joan Clair. Clairol transformed hair coloring from a difficult-to-use specialty item into a highly successful mainstream consumer product.
E.R. Squibb & Sons marketed the world’s first electronic toothbrush in 1961. By 1990 more than 150 other brands of automatic toothbrushes were introduced, most of which essentially imitated the original Squibb model invented by Professor Philippe G. Woog.


Bristol-Myers acquired Mead Johnson & Company, a leader in science-based infant and children’s nutrition. Mead Johnson introduced its first baby formula in 1910 and over the decades expanded into vitamins, pharmaceutical products and prenatal nutrition. The Enfamil® brand grew to be recognized worldwide for its leadership in pediatric nutrition.
Bristol-Myers acquires Mead-Johnson
Squibb delved into cancer research, discovering and developing hydroxyurea for leukemia and advanced ovarian cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb discovers and develops the anti-cancer treatment hydroxyurea for leukemia and advanced ovarian cancer
For a time, Bristol-Myers was in show biz. In 1970, the company formed Palomar Pictures, which produced “The Taking of the Pelham One, Two, Three,” starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, and “The Stepford Wives,” starring Katharine Ross and Paula Prentiss. Palomar was terminated in 1974.
Squibb established worldwide headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. It also expanded facilities for the Squibb Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. This expansion allowed Squibb to make more groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in medical research.
In the 1970s Bristol-Myers introduced several early medicines, beginning in 1973 with BLENOXANE® (bleomycin sulfate) for squamous cell cancers, head and neck cancers, and non-Hodgkins lymphomas; followed in 1974 with MUTAMYCIN® (mitomycin) for bone cancer and stomach and pancreas tumors; in 1976 with CEENU® (lomustine), a chemotherapy product for brain cancer and Hodgkins lymphoma; in 1977 with BICNU (carmustine), for treatment of brain and lymphatic cancers; and in 1978 with anticancer agents PLATINOL and LYSODREN (mitotane).
Bristol-Myers Oncology Medicine
Squibb researchers Miguel A. Ondetti (on left) and David W. Cushman created CAPOTEN (captopril)®; the first in a new class of high blood pressure agents called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors. CAPOTEN was an important new medical discovery for the treatment of patients with high blood pressure.
Miguel A. Ondetti
Squibb sold a dental bandage in the 1970s that maintained its stickiness on warm, moist surfaces. At the time, ostomy patients were forced to use irritating substances such as rubber cement and adhesive tape to secure their ostomy pouches to their bodies. Squibb formed ConvaTec as a separate division in 1978 to develop adhesive skin barriers and products that could give people with an ostomy new freedom. Headquartered in Skillman, New Jersey, ConvaTec grew into a global company with 3,000 employees in 100 countries.
Bristol-Myers marketed VEPESID® (etoposide) for cancer.
Bristol-Myers VEPESID
Bristol-Myers opened a state-of-the-art research complex in Wallingford, Connecticut, designed to house more than 800 scientists and support staff. In 1995, this facility was named the Richard L. Gelb Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Development after the former Bristol-Myers chairman and CEO.
Squibb opens a state-of-the-art research complex in Wallingford, Connecticut
Bristol-Myers merged with Squibb, creating a global leader in the health care industry. The merger created Bristol-Myers Squibb company, which was then the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical enterprise.
Bristol-Myers merges with Squibb
PARAPLATIN® (carboplatin) was approved for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved VIDEX® (didanosine).

VIDEX® (didanosine)
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VIDEX® (didanosine)
Approvals in 1991 included two cardiovascular medicines, PRAVACHOL® (pravastin sodium) and MONOPRIL® (fosinopril sodium).

PRAVACHOL® (pravastatin sodium)
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Antibiotic-CEFZILl® and cardiovascular-PRAVACHOL® (pravastatin sodium) and MONOPRIL® (fosinopril sodium)
Bristol-Myers Squibb developed a new compound, TAXOL® (paclitaxel). The company invested hundreds of millions of dollars to supply TAXOL for clinical trials, prepare data for regulatory submission and develop alternative sources of TAXOL (which originally derived from the bark of the endangered Pacific Yew tree). TAXOL launched in 1993.
TAXOL® (paclitaxel)
An antibiotic, CEFZIL® (cefprozil) was approved in 1992.
CEFZIL® (cefprozil)
The company completed its acquisition of Union Pharmacologique Scientifique Appliquee (UPSA), a leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical and consumer medicines, based in France. It acquired GLUCOPHAGE® (metformin hydroxchloride), from Lipha Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and received FDA approval of ZERIT® (stavudine).

GLUCOPHAGE® (metformin hydrochloride)
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ZERIT® (stavudine)
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The company had more than 60 product lines with $50 million or more in annual sales worldwide. PRAVACHOL® (pravastatin sodium) granted expanded usage from the FDA.

PRAVACHOL® (pravastin sodium)
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PRAVACHOL® (pravastatin sodium)
The company opened a 433-acre research campus in Hopewell, New Jersey. Two important new medicines codeveloped with Sanofi-Sythelabo received approvals: AVAPRO® (irbesartan) and PLAVIX® (clopidogrel bisulfate).PLAVIX® would become the company's leading product.

PLAVIX® (clopidogrel bisulfate)
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The FDA granted clearance to market EXCEDRIN® Migraine for the relief of migraine headache pain and associated symptoms. Excedrin became the first migraine headache medication available to consumers without a prescription.
Excedrin® Migraine
President Bill Clinton awarded the National Medal of Technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb —America’s highest honor for technological innovation—“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.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced SECURE THE FUTURE®, a $100 million commitment to advance HIV/AIDS research and community outreach programs in seven African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Tanzania.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, together with four other pharmaceutical companies and international agencies, joined the UNAIDS Drug ACCESS Initiative. The ACCESS program aimed to make antiretroviral medicines and therapies more widely available in African countries by reducing prices. The company offered to lower the prices of HIV/AIDS medicines in those countries by 90 percent.
Bristol-Myers Squibb committed $15 million for extending SECURE THE FUTURE® to four Western African countries—Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a new strategy that included a sharpened focus on medicines and an aggressive external development program. As part of this new strategy, the company sold its Clairol business.
The company launched GLUCOVANCE® (glyburide and metformin hydrochloride), a single-pill combination of metformin and glyburide. It also launched GLUCOPHAGE XR (metformin hydrochloride), a once-daily formulation of GLUCOPHAGE.

GLUCOVANCE® (glyburide and metformin hydrochloride)
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GLUCOPHAGE® (metformin hydrochloride)
Prescribing Information

GLUCOPHAGE® XR EXTENDED RELEASE (metformin hydrochloride)
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Bristol-Myers Squibb was chosen “America’s Most Admired Pharmaceutical Company” by FORTUNE Magazine.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is chosen “America’s Most Admired Pharmaceutical Company” by FORTUNE Magazine.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital opened in March 2001 as part of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The first freestanding children’s hospital in the state, the hospital offered care without regard to the family’s ability to pay and offered more than 45 pediatric specialties.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital opens in  2001
The company announced the purchase of DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company for $7.8 billion with the intention to further strengthen Bristol-Myers Squibb’s medicines business. With the DuPont acquisition, Bristol-Myers Squibb added SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) and COUMADIN® (warfarin sodium) to its portfolio. The company also acquired Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging.

SUSTIVA® (efavirenz)
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COUMADIN® (warfarin sodium)
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Bristol-Myers Squibb acquires DuPont
The U.S. FDA approved ABILIFY® (aripiprazole) in November. It was jointly marketed in the U.S. by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical.

ABILIFY® (aripiprazole)
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ABILIFY® (aripiprazole)
The company sponsored the Bristol-Myers Squibb TOUR OF HOPE™, an unprecedented week-long coast-to-coast cycling event. En route, the 26-member team of cancer survivors, caregivers, physicians, nurses and researchers raised awareness of cancer research and the importance of clinical trials in developing new treatments. Building on the success of the 2003 event, Bristol-Myers Squibb again to sponsored the 2004 Tour of Hope coast-to-coast cycling event.
Tour of Hope
In July, REYATAZ® (atazanavir sulfate) was introduced in the U.S.

REYATAZ® (atazanavir sulfate)
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In February, the U.S. FDA approved ERBITUX® (cetuximab), co-developed and co-marketed with ImClone Systems Incorporated.

ERBITUX® (cetuximab)
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in March, the U.S. FDA approved BARACLUDE® (entecavir). In late December, the U.S. FDA approved ORENCIA® (abatacept).

BARACLUDE® (entecavir)
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ORENCIA® (abatacept)
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The U.S. FDA approved SPRYCEL®(dasatinib) in June.

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In July, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead Sciences announced the U.S. FDA approval of ATRIPLA® (efavirenz 600 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg).

ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)
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Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a new strategy to transform itself from a midcap pharmaceutical company to a next-generation BioPharma company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines to fight serious diseases. To accelerate this transformation, the company introduced the String of Pearls approach to complement and enhance its internal capabilities with a suite of innovative alliances, partnerships and acquisitions with small and large companies.
In October, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced U.S. FDA approval of IXEMPRA™(ixabepilone).

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Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired Adnexus Therapeutics, developer of a new class of biologics called Adnectins™. The acquisition helped advance Bristol-Myers Squibb’s biologics strategy across multiple therapeutic areas and included a Phase I oncology biologic, CT-322. Adnexus was the first acquisition in the company's String of Pearls strategy, which aims to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapies with innovative alliances, partnerships and acquisitions.

Underscoring its worldwide commitment to children with HIV/AIDS, Bristol-Myers Squibb opened a new clinical center at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Dedicated to the research and treatment of children’s immune system disorders and infectious diseases, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology Center was made possible by a $5 million gift from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

Bristol-Myers Squibb sold its Medical Imaging business to the private equity firm Avista Capital Partners for $525 million, as part of its effort to focus on its core pharmaceutical pipeline. Bristol-Myers Squibb also sold its ConvaTec business unit to Nordic Capital Fund VII and Avista Capital Partners for $4.1 billion. ConvaTec was a world leader in the development and marketing of innovative wound therapeutics and ostomy care products.
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced in April 2008 its plan to sell approximately 10-20 percent of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company stock to the public through an IPO and to retain at least an 80 percent equity interest for the foreseeable future. This announcement, in addition to the Medical Imaging and ConvaTec sales, was part of the BioPharma transformation to better focus Bristol-Myers Squibb on its biopharmaceutical business.

Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into an exclusive agreement with KAI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, to globally develop and commercialize a therapy for cardiovascular diseases.

Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased Kosan Biosciences, a cancer therapeutics company based in California, for approximately $190 million. This acquisition enhanced the company’s pipeline with compounds in two important classes of anticancer agents.

Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into an exclusive agreement with PDL BioPharma of Redwood City, California to develop and globally commercialize a therapy for multiple myeloma.

Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a global collaboration with Exelixis, a biotechnology company based in San Francisco, California, to develop and commercialize two novel therapies: one for medullary thyroid cancer and the other as a treatment for advanced solid tumor malignancies.

Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a global collaboration with ZymoGenetics of Seattle, Washington to develop and commercialize PEG-Interferon lambda, a new treatment for hepatitis C.
Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a global collaboration with Nissan Chemical Industries and Teijin Pharma for the development and commercialization of an oral atrial-selective antiarrhythmic medication.
In late July, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the FDA approval of ONGLYZA™ (saxagliptin).

ONGLYZA™ (saxagliptin)
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Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired Medarex Inc., a biotech company and a partner since 2005. This acquisition was the largest String of Pearls transaction to date, and significantly expanded Bristol-Myers Squibb's oncology and immunology pipeline, positioned the company for long-term leadership in biologics and allowed it to gain full rights for ipilimumab.

Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a global collaboration with Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc. of Bothell, Washington, to develop and commercialize a novel investigational biologic for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

On December 23, the company completed its strategic split-off of its shares of Mead Johnson. The split-off focuses Bristol-Myers Squibb completely on its biopharmaceutical business, and completed the company's transformation to a BioPharma leader.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allergan, Inc. announced a global agreement for the development and commercialization of an oral medication for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
In November, KOMBIGLYZE™ XR (saxagliptin and metformin HCL extended release) approved in the U.S.

KOMBIGLYZE™ XR (saxagliptin and metformin HCL extended release)
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In December, Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired the worldwide rights from Oncolys BioPharma Inc. to manufacture, develop and commercialize festinavir, a once-a-day, orally available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor.

In March, YERVOY™ (ipilimumab) was approved by the U.S. FDA.

YERVOY™ (ipilimumab)
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In June, NULOJIX® (belatacept) was approved by the U.S. FDA.

NULOJIX® (belatacept)
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In September, Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired Amira Pharmaceuticals, a small-molecule pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and early development of new drugs to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.

Amira Logo
In September, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., entered into a strategic agreement to expand Bristol-Myers Squibb’s territorial rights to an investigational cancer immunotherapy, an anti-PD-1 antibody, and for the co-development and co-commercialization of Orencia in Japan.

ORENCIA® (abatacept)
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Ono Pharmaceuticals Logo
In September, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ambrx, Inc., announced a collaboration to research, develop and commercialize novel biologics programs in diabetes and heart failure.

Ambrx Logo
In October, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead Sciences, announced licensing agreement for development and commercialization of new fixed-dose combination pill for people living with HIV.

Gilead Sciences Logo
In November, Bristol-Myers Squibb and ASLAN Pharmaceuticals announced an innovative partnership to license and develop an investigational oncology compound.

ASLAN Phramaceuticals Logo
In February 2012, Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired Inhibitex, Inc.

In August 2012, Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development and commercialization of a franchise of GLP-1 agonists for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Amylin Logo
In December, ELIQUIS® (apixaban) was approved by the U.S. FDA.

ELIQUIS® (apixaban)
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In February 2014, Bristol-Myers Squibb sold its global diabetes business to AstraZeneca. The transaction includes the rights to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s global diabetes business that was part of its collaboration with AstraZeneca, the former Amylin manufacturing facility in West Chester, Ohio, and also covers the future purchase by AstraZeneca of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Mount Vernon, Indiana, manufacturing facility approximately 18 months following the close of the deal.
In December 2014, OPDIVO® (nivolumab) was approved by the U.S. FDA.

OPDIVO® (nivolumab)
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March 2015


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