Joseph Nathan and Co. was founded in 1873 as a general trading company in Wellington, New Zealand, by a Londoner, Joseph Edward Nathan.In 1904 it began producing a dried-milk baby food from excess milk produced on the family farms outside Bunnythorpe. The resulting product was first known as Defiance, then as Glaxo (from lacto), under the slogan “Glaxo builds bonny babies.”The Glaxo Laboratories sign is still visible (right) on what is now a car repair shop on the main street of Bunnythorpe. The company’s first pharmaceutical product, released in 1924, was vitamin D.
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) is a British pharmaceutical company headquartered in Brentford, London. Established in 2000 by a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, GSK was the world’s sixth largest pharmaceutical company as of 2015, after Pfizer, Novartis, Merck, Hoffmann-La Roche and Sanofi. Emma Walmsley became CEO on 31 March 2017 and is the first female CEO of the company.
The company has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of August 2016 it had a market capitalisation of £81 billion (around $107 billion), the fourth largest on the London Stock Exchange. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
GSK’s drugs and vaccines earned £21.3 billion in 2013. Its top-selling products that year were Advair, Avodart, Flovent, Augmentin, Lovaza and Lamictal. GSK’s consumer products, which earned £5.2 billion in 2013, include Sensodyne and Aquafresh toothpaste, the malted-milk drink Horlicks, Abreva for cold sores, Breathe Right nasal strips, Nicoderm and Nicorette nicotine replacements, and Night Nurse, a cold remedy. The company developed the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, which it said in 2014 it would make available for five percent above cost. Legacy products developed at GSK include several listed in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines, such as amoxicillin, mercaptopurine, pyrimethamine and zidovudine.
In 2012, GSK pleaded guilty to promotion of drugs for unapproved uses, failure to report safety data, and kickbacks to physicians in the United States and agreed to pay a $3 billion (£1.9bn) settlement, the largest settlement in the country by a drug company.