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G.D. Searle, LLC

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G.D. Searle, LLC
Company typeSubsidiary of Pfizer
Founded1888; 136 years ago (1888) (as G. D. Searle & Company)
FounderGideon Daniel Searle
HeadquartersNew York City, United States
ProductsPharmaceutical products

G.D. Searle, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.[1] It is currently a trademark company and subsidiary of Pfizer, operating in more than 43 countries. It also operates as a distribution trademark for various pharmaceuticals that were developed by G. D. Searle & Company (often referred to as Searle). Searle is most notable for having developed the first female birth control pill,[2] and the artificial sweetener NutraSweet. Searle also developed the drug Lomotil, an antidiarrheal medication. One notable alumnus of Searle is Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense for George W. Bush in the 2000s. Prior to its 1985 merger with Monsanto, Searle was a company mainly focusing on life sciences, specifically pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and animal health.


In 1888 (136 years ago) (1888), Gideon Daniel Searle founded Searle in Omaha, Nebraska.[3] The company incorporated in 1908 and established headquarters in Skokie, Illinois in 1941.[3]

Between 1977 and 1985, Donald Rumsfeld was CEO, and then president, of Searle.[4] In 1985, he negotiated the acquisition of Searle by Monsanto Corporation.[5]

Starting in 1979,[clarification needed] Robert B. Shapiro acted as general counsel for the firm, where developing Searle's aspartame product under the brand name NutraSweet.

In 1993, a team of researchers at Searle Research and Development filed a patent application for celecoxib,[6] which Searle developed and which became the first selective COX-2 inhibitor to be approved by the FDA on December 31, 1998.[7] Control of this blockbuster drug was often mentioned as a key reason for Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia.[8]

In April 2000, Pharmacia Corporation was created by merging Pharmacia & Upjohn (which had come about as the result of an earlier merger of the companies Pharmacia and Upjohn) with Monsanto and its Searle unit.[9] The merged company was based in Peapack, New Jersey.[citation needed]

In 2003, Pfizer acquired Pharmacia and retired the Searle name, while still in many Asian and European countries Searle persists under the same name, in various variants.[citation needed]


The company manufactures prescription drugs and nuclear medicine imaging equipment. Searle is known for its release of Enovid, the first commercial oral contraceptive, in 1960.[10] It is also known for its release of the first bulk laxative, Metamucil, in 1934; Dramamine, for motion sickness; the COX-2 inhibitors Celebrex and Bextra; Ambien for insomnia; and NutraSweet (also known as aspartame), an artificial sweetener, in 1965. It was released in 1981 by FDA.[citation needed]

In 1996, the FDA removed all restrictions on the use of aspartame, which enabled its use in heated and baked goods. G. D. Searle's patent on aspartame was extended in 1981 and ultimately expired in December 1992.[11]


  1. ^ "Pharmacia Merger". Pfizer. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  2. ^ "G.D. Searle Develops the Pill | American Experience | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  3. ^ a b "Searle family". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  4. ^ "The Known Knowns of Donald Rumsfeld". International Policy Digest. 2021-07-02. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  5. ^ Greenhouse, Steven; Times, Special To the New York (1985-07-19). "MONSANTO TO ACQUIRE G. D. SEARLE". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  6. ^ "Substituted pyrazolyl benzenesulfonamides". Google Patents. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  7. ^ "Drug Approval Package: Celebrex (Celecoxib) NDA# 20-998". Food and Drug Administration.
  8. ^ Frank, Robert; Scott Hensley (July 16, 2002). "Pfizer to Buy Pharmacia For $60 Billion in Stock". The Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ "Pharmacia & Upjohn, Monsanto to Merge in $26.5-Billion Deal". Los Angeles Times. 1999-12-20. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  10. ^ Broster, Alice. "60 Years Since The FDA's Approval Of The Birth Control Pill". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  11. ^ Martin, Michael J. C. (September 16, 1994). Managing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Technology-based Firms. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 18–22. ISBN 978-0471572190.

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