1991 DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company
The 1991 formation of the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, a joint venture with prescription drug giant Merck and Company, made DuPont a competitive force in the field of life sciences. Since the late 1950s, DuPont had conducted pharmaceuticals research but found that it lacked the experience necessary to expedite FDA approval for new drugs and then market them.
The 1969 purchase of Endo Laboratories provided DuPont with the successful drug Coumadin, but pharmaceuticals remained a marginal part of the company’s business through the 1980s. As part of an overall strategy to expand its Life Sciences Division, DuPont formed the 1991 venture with Merck, one of America’s oldest pharmaceutical companies with a proven ability to develop and market new prescription drugs. The DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company conducted important research in cardiovascular, radiopharmaceutical and central nervous system products. The company’s most successful products included Sinemet to fight Parkinson’s disease; Cardiolite cardiac imaging agents; and Cozaar, a hypertension drug discovered by DuPont and marketed by Merck. In 1998 DuPont bought Merck’s one-half interest in the company and began operating as DuPont Pharmaceuticals. This wholly owned subsidiary has developed revolutionary products like Sustiva to fight HIV infection and researched new treatments for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Bristol Myers-Squibb purchased DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 2001.