1969 Pharmaceuticals Grows

The acquisition of Endo Laboratories provided DuPont with valuable experience in drug manufacturing and marketing and paved the way for future success in pharmaceuticals. DuPont had been struggling to develop its drug business since the late 1950s. Despite the promise of the antiviral drug Symmetrel, DuPont lacked expertise in pharmaceutical sales and in working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Industrial and Biochemicals head Edward R. Kane sought a solution in acquisition and in 1969 purchased Endo
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Coumadin® tablets

Founded in 1920 as an independent, family-run pharmaceuticals business, Endo had achieved success with the anticoagulant drug Coumadin. During the 1970s, DuPont worked to expand Endo’s line of analgesics and to develop treatments for drug addiction, but Endo proved unable to accommodate the expansion and squabbling among research groups slowed development of new drugs. In anticipation of an effort to acquire new drug companies, Endo was renamed DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 1982. Eight years later, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and drug giant Merck & Company formed a joint venture known as the DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals Company. Endo re-emerged in 1994 as Endo Laboratories, LLC, as the genetics division of DuPont Merck. In 1997 three executives from DuPont Merck purchased Endo Laboratories and renamed the company Endo Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated.


Edward R. Kane (1918-2011) earned a Ph.D. from MIT in 1943 and began his career as a physical chemist in DuPont’s Textile Fibers Department. He supervised operations and research at the Fiber V (Dacron ) semiworks at Seaford, Del., and at the Chattanooga, Tenn., nylon plant during the early 1950s. In 1955 Kane headed up a cooperative effort by the Engineering and Textile Fibers Departments to develop better nylon facilities. Through the mid-1960s he worked to develop new textile fibers and ensure the profitability of existing ones in the face of mounting competition. In 1967 Kane took over the newly formed Industrial and Biochemicals Department. Two years later, in an effort to boost DuPont’s pharmaceuticals program, he spearheaded the acquisition of Endo Laboratories. Kane became a senior vice president, director, and member of the Executive Committee the same year.


Believing that the complex responsibilities of running a vast, multinational company should be divided between two top executives, Chairman Charles B. McCoy split DuPont’s managerial responsibilities upon his retirement. In 1973 he made Irving S. Shapiro chairman and Kane president and chief operating officer. The energy crisis and increasing global competition presented the greatest challenges to Kane and Shapiro. They responded by refocusing DuPont on non-petroleum-related products like electronics, agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Kane retired in 1980.