|Fate||Merged with SmithKline Beckman|
|Successors||SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline)|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
The Beecham Group plc was a British pharmaceutical company. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Beecham, after having merged with SmithKline Beecham, merged with Glaxo Wellcome to become GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). GSK still uses the Beechams brand name in the UK for its over-the-counter cold and flu relief products.
Beecham was the family business of Thomas Beecham (1820–1907), a chemist. He was the grandfather of the conductor also named Thomas Beecham (1879–1961). As a boy, he worked as a shepherd, selling herbal remedies as a sideline. He then started as a travelling salesman or peddler.
Beecham opened its first factory in St. Helens, Lancashire, for the rapid production of medicines in 1859. Under Thomas' son, Sir Joseph Beecham, 1st Baronet (1848–1916), the business expanded, but remained a patent medicine company and engaged in little research.
Beecham bought companies for various products, acquiring the Lucozade glucose drink and Macleans to its products in 1938 and, at the same time, introducing the Ribena blackcurrant drink. By buying the company manufacturing Brylcreem the following year, it added hair products for men.
In the 1950s to 1960s, Beecham, in consort with Bristol-Myers, developed penicillin derivatives: first phenethicillin, then the more potent methicillin (Celbenin). Later, these were followed by ampicillin, cloxacillin and others, as the group focused on pharmaceutical development.
In 1953, it bought C.L. Bencard, which specialised in allergy vaccines.
In 1959, Brockham Park became famous when Beecham scientists there discovered the penicillin nucleus, 6-APA (6-aminopenicillanic acid); this discovery allowed the synthesis of a number of new semisynthetic penicillins. In 1959, Beecham marketed Broxil (phenethicillin), followed shortly by Celbenin (methicillin), which is active against Staphylococcus aureus.
In 1961, Penbritin (ampicillin) hit the market, and soon Beecham's facilities were inadequate for the worldwide demand. A 35-acre (140,000 m2) complex at Worthing came on line in the early 1960s to produce phenethicillin, followed by 6-APA, the base for semisynthetic penicillins.
In 1971 the S. E. Massengill Company was acquired.
In 1973, the Aquafresh toothpaste is launched.
In 1977, the Sucrets brand is acquired.
In 1986, the Beecham Group sold its numerous soft drink brands including Tango, Top Deck, Corona, Quosh, as well as the UK franchises for Pepsi and 7 Up, to Britvic. The same year, Beecham acquired Norcliff Thayer, the makers of Tums, Oxy, and Avail.
A history of the company, Beechams, 1848–2000: From Pills to Pharmaceuticals, written by Thomas Anthony Buchanan Corley, was published in 2011.
- Amoxil (amoxicillin)
- Augmentin (co-amoxiclav)
- Avandia (rosiglitazone)
- Bactroban (mupirocin)
- Broxil (pheneticillin)
- Celbenin (meticillin)
- clavulanic acid
- Eminase (anistreplase)
- Engerix-B (hepatitis B vaccine)
- Floxapen (flucloxacillin)
- Havrix (hepatitis A vaccine)
- Orbenin (cloxacillin)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Penbritin (ampicillin)
- Pollinex (extract of ragweed pollen)
- Pyopen (carbenicillin)
- Relifex (nabumetone)
- Temopen (temocillin)
- Ticarpen (ticarcillin)
- Timentin (ticarcillin/clavulanate)
- "Get powerful relief from cold & flu symptoms with Beechams". beechams.co.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- GSK History
- Thomas Beecham at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- "SmithKline Beecham: History", History of Advertising Trust
- Synthesis of Penicillin: 6-Aminopenicillanic Acid in Penicillin Fermentations F. R. Batchelor, F. P. Doyle, J. H. C. Nayler & G. N. Rolinson
- Carbonated drinks: a report on the supply by manufacturers of carbonated drinks in the United Kingdom, Chapter 8 para 8.51
- The Glaxo SmithKline merger