In present times, the pharmaceutical industry has become one of the most profitable and essential industries in the world. A couple of centuries ago, the United Kingdom was considered the hub of medicine; however, as of today, there are only a limited number of pharmaceutical companies left that originated in the UK. Here are the top pharmaceutical companies in the United Kingdom.
GlaxoSmithKline is among the leading pharmaceutical companies, not only in the United Kingdom but in the world. Glaxo and SmithKline represent two different companies that were merged together. Joseph Edward Nathan was a merchant and milk producer that established his business, Joseph Nathan and Co. in New Zealand in 1873. Interestingly, he was born in London. In the early 20th century, he decided to produce baby food from dry milk. It was marketed with the slogan “Glaxo builds bonnie babies”, and because of its popularity, the company was renamed, Glaxo Laboratories. As for the SmithKline, in 1830, two business partners, Gilbert and John K. Smith, established a drugstore in the United States with the name of Smith & Gilbert. Shortly after the incorporation, Gilbert decided to leave the business, and he was replaced by John’s nephew, Mahlon Smith. By the end of 1870, this store was fully managed by Mahlon Smith, and a bookkeeper, Mahlon Kline. Seeing the success of this store, Richard & Co., a French pharmaceutical company, decided to purchase it, and it was renamed, Smith Kline. While it may come as a surprise, GlaxoSmithKline only came into existence in 2000, when Glaxo Laboratories and SmithKline decided to merge. This turned out to be the most profitable merger in the pharmaceutical industry, as GSK annually generates $45 billion.
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
Popular Products: Triumeq, Advai, and Tivicay
Similar to GSK, AstraZeneca was also established as a result of a merger. Not only does it produce medicine, but it is also a biotechnology company, i.e., it combines both biology and engineering to achieve better healthcare results. Astra AB was a Swedish pharmaceutical company that was established in 1913 by 400 doctors and apothecaries, healthcare professionals that specialized in the production of medicines. Its headquarters were located in Södertälje, Sweden. In Britain, a company known as Imperial Chemical Industries was formed in 1926, as a merger of four British chemical companies. In 1993, Imperial Chemical Industries was split into specific industries, and one of them was Zeneca Group. Finally, in 1999, both Astra and Zeneca saw a business opportunity and decided to merge, resulting in AstraZeneca. The original headquarters of AstraZeneca was located in London; however, since then, it has been shifted to Cambridge. It specializes in the production of medicines for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, oncology, respiratory problems, and the central nervous system. In 2020, AstraZeneca generated $26 billion, and it is listed on most stock exchanges.
Headquarters: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Popular Products: Tagrisso and Vaxzevria
Salts Healthcare is one of the oldest running family-operated pharmaceutical companies in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, it started life as a completely different industry. John Salt decided to open his surgical instrument manufacturing facility after gaining experience as a locksmith in the early 1700s. His business was immensely successful, and it was later handed to his son, William Salt, in 1755. Shortly afterward, the company started producing medical devices as well. The company’s management was passed down to successors of the family, and with each generation of the owner, it was relocated to a new location. By the mid-1800s, the Salt Company started producing medical devices as well, and by the end of the 19th century, it started manufacturing orthopedic devices. During the first World War, the company helped soldiers that were severely injured by manufacturing artificial limbs. Unfortunately, in 1945, new laws were set in place that discouraged it from making limbs. In 1948, the company was approached by Professor Brian Brooke to see if it could produce collection devices for stoma patients. Although the collection bag produced by Salt was not profitable, it led to establishing a research and development department of the company and shifting its entire focus to stoma products.
Headquarters: Birmingham, United Kingdom
Popular Product: Confidence BE
This pharmaceutical company was established in 1978 by Samih Darwazah in Jordan. It produces more than 780 products, which are sold worldwide. In the early 2000s, Hikma began expanding its origins to other countries as well, and presently, Hikma operates in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2005, it was enlisted on the London Stock Exchange.
Headquarters: England, United Kingdom
Popular Products: Actos and Prograf
Vectura Group specializes in the production of inhaling devices and inhalation formulas. Unlike other companies, Vectura Group was incorporated as a start-up pharmaceutical business in 1997, although it was not called Vectura Group at the time. Since the launch, it has seen exponential growth and acquired three different pharmaceutical companies. Interestingly, it didn’t begin producing inhalers until 2016. It only decided to invest in the production of inhaling devices upon its merger with Skyepharma, a company that produced asthma inhalers. After the merger, the company was known as the Vectura Group.
Headquarters: England, United Kingdom
Popular Products: AirFluSal and Enerzair
Genus is a pharmaceutical company that exclusively produces products surrounding cattle and pigs. It was founded by six major pork producers in the United Kingdom in 1933. Genus’s business model is to analyze animal DNA and allow farmers to identify the genetic profile or markers that are highly desirable in the production of meat. Moreover, they store and supply animal semen and embryos to farmers.
Headquarters: Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK
Popular Product: Cattle embryo
Fusion Antibodies was incorporated in 2001 as a Collaborative Research Organisation. As the name suggests, its primary function is to develop antibodies and engineer them for specific needs. Not only does it carry out its own processes, but Fusion Antibodies has also helped other companies with pre-clinical stages in trials.
Headquarters: Belfast, United Kingdom
Popular Products: Transient Protein Expression
Renovo is a British biopharmaceutical company that specializes in neurological care. It was incorporated in 1998. Although Renovo began life as a drug producer to develop analgesic and wound-healing medicines, presently, it provides neurorehabilitation in the South of England.
Headquarters: Manchester, United Kingdom
Popular Product: Acute Neurorehabilitation
ITH Pharma is a compounding pharmaceutical company, i.e., it produces customized prescription medicines for patients and clients that cannot be bought otherwise. It was incorporated in 1997 and received the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency certificate in 1998. Interestingly, ITH Pharma delivers intravenous medication on the same day of order in London. Additionally, ITH Pharma produces customized medicines for veterinary use as well.
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
Popular Products: Prescription Intravenous Medicines
Destiny Pharma is a biotech pharmaceutical company, and it focuses on the production of novel anti-infectives. It makes products for post-surgical infections, dermal infections, and anti-microbial resistance. Moreover, it has over 5 products in its pipeline, i.e., research and trials are being carried out for these drugs.
Headquarters: Brighton, United Kingdom
Popular Products: XF Drugs