Below we have outlined a history of the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured and supplied contaminated Factor VIII or IX blood products to the UK in the 1970's / 1980's.
Armour & Company begins in our story being owned by Greyhound Lines which is most notably known for its Coach / Bus services in the USA. However during 1977/1978 it was sold to Revlon (Source), yes, that company you might suspect have only ever made beauty products were actually in the business of Factor VIII.
Revlon had a good run with Armour and their main-stay Factor VIII product which was aptly named "Factorate". Revlon remained in control of Armour from 1978 to around 1987 (Their attempts to sell the company began in the mid -1980's, shortly after Haemophiliacs began to become aware they were infected with HIV). Revlon sold Armour to a company called Rorer Pharmaceutical for almost $700 Million. Rorer went on to merge with Rhône-Poulenc in 1990 (Source).
In 1996 Armour was merged with German company Behringwerke, the new alliance was named "Centeon". It was 3 years later in 1999 that the entity known as Centeon changed its name to Aventis Behring following a merger of the parent companies, Rorer and Hoechst AG, which merged to become known as Aventis.
In 1949 Baxter created Travenol Laboratories, a pharmaceutical arm of the company and it also acquired Hyland Laboratories in 1952, both of which would go on to be involved in the Factor business.
For a time in the late 1970's the UK's Department of Health held central contracts with Baxter for their "Hemofil" Factor VIII product.
In 1996 Baxter acquired a former competitor in the business, Immuno AG, for in the region of $715,000,000.
In 2015 Baxter "spun-off" it's Haemophilia treatment business into a new company called Baxalta and this was shortly followed by a mega sell-off in 2016 to Shire PLC for some $32 Billion.
In November 2018 the EU cleared a deal that will see Shire PLC sold to the Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda for some £46 Billion. The FT said “investors worried about growing competition to Shire’s lucrative haemophilia treatment, which generates around a quarter of its revenues”. It was the largest announced global deal of 2018, and is touted to be the biggest Japanese Company Bond offering ever.
Bayer and the hiv scandal
Cutter Laboratories & Miles Laboratories
Factor VIII manufacturer Cutter Laboratories was original owned by Miles, both of which would eventually be taken over by Bayer.
In 1995 a raft of legal action was underway by those harmed by Factor VIII products in the United States and it was around this time that Bayer dropped the "Miles" name as a brand.
A company called Talecris was established in 2005 by Cerberus Capital Management and Ampersand, which bought out Bayer's plasma business and assets for 590 Million Dollars, however, it is important to note that Bayer retained it's recombinant Factor VIII "Kogenate" product which was not included in the sale and Bayer remain active in the Haemophilia treatment market to this day.
It would turn out to be Spanish pharmaceutical company Grifols who would ultimately land the deal, and in 2011, a year after announcing the $3.4 Billion Dollar takeover, Grifols completed its aquisition of Talecris.
Blood Products Laboratory
The BPL (Blood Products Laboratory) was and still is based in Elstree, UK and was the site at which the majority of "home-made" Factor VIII was made (Most Factor VIII that was used in this country was not "home-made"). Today BPL has changed it's name slightly to stand for Bio-Products Laboratory.
- In 2016 it was completley sold off to a commercial company based in China called the Creat Group for £820 Million .
- In 2013 the Department of Health sold 80% of it's stake in BPL to an investment company called Bain Capital for approximately £230 Million .
- It was in 1950 that BPL first began in the business of processing human plasma and was established by the Medical Research Council (MRC) as part of the Lister Institute.