Abbott Laboratories is an American multinational 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 its research-based pharmaceuticals business into AbbVie in 2013.
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.
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. In 1922, the company moved from Ravenswood to North Chicago, Illinois.
Abbott's first international affiliate was in London in 1907, and the company later added an affiliate in Montreal, Canada. 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. 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. The acquisition of Ross brought Similac under the Abbott umbrella. In the years following the acquisition, Pedialyte and Ensure were introduced as nutritional products by Ross Laboratories while under Abbott's leadership.
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.
Today, Abbott operates in over 160 countries.