A little history of a big company

Bristol-Myers Squibb first established roots in Canada 90 years ago with the incorporation of E.R. Squibb & Sons in 1925. Bristol-Myers Canada expanded its activities through the acquisition of Squibb & Sons in 1989, and DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 2001.

Our company has a strong legacy of innovation that began in New York in 1858 when Edward R. Squibb, M.D., founded a pharmaceutical company in Brooklyn, and in 1887 when two friends, William McLaren Bristol and John Ripley Myers purchased a struggling drug manufacturing firm in Clinton. Together, they laid the foundation for our company today — a global BioPharma leader that continues this legacy of innovation.

U.S. & International Milestones


Dr. Edward Robinson Squibb (1819-1900), an American Navy physician, founds Squibb Corporation in New York and develops the first reliable ether for anaesthesia.


Bristol-Myers is founded in 1887 when William McLaren Bristol and John Ripley Myers buy the Clinton Pharmaceutical Company in New York State. They built it into a successful company by developing a series of innovative products including Bufferin, the first of the buffered aspirins.


Dr. Edward Robinson Squibb retires and passes most of the responsibility for managing the firm to his sons, Charles and Edward. Squibb Corporation is known for decades afterwards as E. R. Squibb and Sons.


From 1903 to 1905, Bristol-Myers Company's sales grow tenfold. The runaway success of this period is Ipana toothpaste, the first toothpaste to include disinfectant in its formula and thus help prevent bleeding gums. Another important product is Sal Hepatica, the company's first nationally recognized product: a laxative mineral salt which, when dissolved in water, reproduced the taste and effects of the natural mineral waters of Bohemia. These products bring this regional company to national and international prominence.


The Squibb Institute for Medical Research is established in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The institute makes great advances for the pharmaceutical world, especially regarding antibiotics.


With the acquisition of Cheplin Laboratories, a New York manufacturer of acidophilus milk, Bristol-Myers Company again becomes a producer of pharmaceutical products. Cheplin, which has expertise in fermentation techniques, becomes a key supplier of penicillin for the Allied armed forces.


The Squibb Institute for Medical Research opens the largest penicillin production plant in the world in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


E.R. Squibb & Sons markets the world’s first electronic toothbrush. Most future automatic toothbrushes are essentially imitations of the original Squibb model invented by Professor Philippe G. Woog.


Squibb researchers create CAPOTEN® (captopril); the first in a new class of high blood pressure agents called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors.


Bristol-Myers Company merges with the Squibb Corporation, creating Bristol-Myers Squibb, a world leader in the healthcare industry. The merger creates what was then the world's second-largest pharmaceutical company.


The Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute is established with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, and research facilities in Wallingford, Connecticut, as well as other sites around the world.


Bristol-Myers Squibb Company joins Sterling Winthrop Inc. and their partner Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc. in a joint venture partnership for the development and marketing of two promising compounds, Plavix® and Avapro/Avalide®.


President Bill Clinton awards the National Medal of Technology – America’s highest honour for technological innovation – to Bristol-Myers Squibb “for extending and enhancing human life through innovative pharmaceutical research and development, and for redefining the science of clinical study through groundbreaking and hugely complex clinical trials that are recognized models in the industry.”


Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announces SECURE THE FUTURE™, a $100-million commitment to advance HIV/AIDS research and community outreach programs in five southern African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. Grants fund a variety of laboratory and research projects as well as clinical programs and many community-driven initiatives such as orphan care, home care, counseling and other services.


A new strategy is launched to sharpen the company’s focus on medicine and an aggressive external development program. This includes divestiture of its Clairol Inc. and Zimmer Inc. businesses.


Bristol-Myers Squibb is named “America’s Most Admired Pharmaceutical Company” by FORTUNE Magazine.


BMS offers HIV/AIDS drugs below cost in Africa and commits an additional $15 million – thus raising the total level of commitment to $115 million – to extend SECURE THE FUTURE™ to four Western African countries, and ensures that its patent rights to HIV/AIDS medicines do not impede access to the drugs in southern Africa.


Bristol-Myers Squibb announces new strategy to transform itself from a midcap pharmaceutical company to a next-generation BioPharma company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines to fight serious diseases. The company acquires Adnexus Therapeutics, developer of a new class of biologics called Adnectins™, including a Phase I oncology biologic, CT-322.


Bristol-Myers Squibb purchases Kosan Biosciences, a cancer therapeutics company based in California, and enters into collaborations with two California companies, PDL Biopharma and Exelixis, to develop promising new cancer therapies.


Bristol-Myers Squibb enters into global collaborations with ZymoGenetics,Teijin Pharma Limited and Alder Biopharmaceuticals for the development of new treatments for hepatitis C, cardiac arrhythmia and rheumatoid arthritis, respectively.


Bristol-Myers Squibb acquires the biotech company Medarex to significantly expand its pipeline in oncology and immunology.


Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allergan, Inc. announce a global agreement for the development and commercialization of an oral medication for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

Canadian Milestones


The company’s first roots are established in Canada with the incorporation of E.R. Squibb & Sons of Canada Limited, with headquarters in Toronto.


Construction starts on new Canadian manufacturing plant and headquarters of E.R. Squibb & Sons of Canada Limited in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec, where the company remains located for the next 57 years.


With the acquisition of DuPont, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company adds to its HIV portfolio an antiretroviral agent launched in Canada in 1999, Sustiva® (efavirenz) Capsules, and also gains Cardiolite® (kit for the preparation of Technetium Tc99m Sestamibi for Injection), a medical imaging agent available on the Canadian market since 1990.


Reyataz® (atazanavir sulfate), the first protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV/AIDS with once-a day dosing, is launched in Canada in January.


Health Canada approves the colorectal cancer treatment ERBITUX® (cetuximab), co-developed with ImClone Systems Incorporated.


Health Canada approves Orencia™ (abatacept) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis as well as Baraclude® (entecavir) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection.


Health Canada approves Sprycel™ (dasatinib) for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia, and Atripla®, the first once-daily single tablet regimen to treat HIV infection, combining three separate medications.


Health Canada approves Abilify® (aripiprazole) for the treatment of schizophrenia, and Onglyza™ (saxagliptin) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.


The headquarters of Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada moves to its current facilities in the Technoparc of Ville St-Laurent, Quebec.


Abilify® (aripiprazole) receives additional approval from Health Canada as an add-on treatment to antidepressants for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).


YERVOY® (ipilimumab) is awarded the Prix Galien Canada 2013 recognizing the drug’s significant impact in treating advanced melanoma.


Health Canada approves cancer immunotherapy Yervoy ™(ipilimumab)as a first-line therapy in adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.


Health Canada approves DAKLINZATM (daclatasvir) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection across multiple genotypes, including genotype 3.


Commercialization, manufacturing and operational rights for Erbitux® (cetuximab) in Canada, and Puerto Rico are transferred from Bristol-Myers Squibb to Lilly.


Health Canada approves Opdivo™ (nivolumab) for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Opdivo is the first anti PD-1 (programmed death-1) approved to treat previously untreated cases of BRAF V600 wild-type unresectable or metastatic melanoma in adults.