Timeline of Monsanto

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This is a timeline of Monsanto, a publicly traded American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Greater St. Louis, Missouri.

Big picture[edit]

Time period Key developments at LinkedIn
1901-1945 Monsanto is founded as a chemical company.
1945-1960 Monsanto begins producing agrochemicals.
1961-1982 Monsanto creates an agricultural division. It manufactures Agent Orange, which is later banned.
1982 - 2000 Monsanto starts its pivot into biotechnology. It genetically engineers a plant cell in 1982, commercializes the first genetically engineered product, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) - in 1994, and brings its first genetically engineered seeds, Roundup soybeans, onto the market in 1996. It pivots away from producing chemicals in the late 1990s.
2000 - 2016 Monsanto enters a merger and changes its name to Pharmacia. Pharmacia then spins off its agricultural division as an independent company named Monsanto Company. Monsanto continues in biotechnology.

Full timeline[edit]

Year Event type Details
1901 Company Monsanto is founded in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901 as a chemical company,[1] by John Francis Queeny, a 30‑year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. Its first products are commodity food additives, like the artificial sweetener saccharin, caffeine, and vanillin.[2]:6[3][4][5][6]
1919 Expansion Monsanto expands into Europe in 1919 by entering a partnership with Graesser's Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr, near Ruabon Wales, to produce vanillin, aspirin and its raw ingredient salicylic acid.
1929 Company Monsanto's shares go on sale at the New York Stock Exchange.[7]
1935 Acquisitions Monsanto acquires the Swann Chemical Company in Anniston, Alabama, entering the business of producing PCBs on an industrial scale.[7][8][9][10]
1936 Acquisitions Monsanto acquires the Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories in Dayton, Ohio, in order to acquire the expertise of Charles Allen Thomas and Dr. Carroll A. ("Ted") Hochwalt. The acquisition was subsequently made Monsanto's Central Research Department.[11]:340–341
1940s (early) Products Monsanto becomes one of the world's leading manufacturers in both rubber and plastics (like polystyrene).[7]
1944 Products Monsanto begins manufacturing DDT.
1945 Products Monsanto starts producing and markets agricultural chemicals, including 2,4-D. These eventually become what the company is known for.[12]
1946 Products Monsanto develops and markets the "All" laundry detergent until they sell the product line to Lever Brothers in 1957.[13]
1952 Products Monsanto (a major manufacturer of 2,4,5-T) informs the U.S. government that its 2,4,5-T is contaminated.[14]
1961 Products President Kennedy authorizes the use of the Rainbow Herbicide defoliants in the Vietnam War – many of which are manufactured by Monsanto. This includes Agent Orange, which is applied starting in 1965. These are used until 1971.[7]
1960s (mid) Products William Standish Knowles and his team (at Monsanto) invent a way to selectively synthesize enantiomers via asymmetric hydrogenation. This was an important advancement because it was the first method for the catalytic production of pure chiral compounds.[15]
1968 Products Monsanto becomes the first company to start mass production of (visible) light emitting diodes (LEDs), using gallium arsenide phosphide, ushering in the era of solid-state lights.[16] Monsanto was a pioneer of optoelectronics in the 1970s.
1970 Legal The United States Department of Agriculture halts the use of 2,4,5-T (manufactured by Monsanto) on all food crops except rice.
1972 Products DDT is banned under most circumstances.
1974 Products Harvard University and Monsanto sign a ten-year industrial-funded research grant to support the cancer research of Judah Folkman.[17][18]
1974 Products Monsanto puts up Roundup, or glyphosate, on the market. Glyphosate becomes one of the most commonly used herbicides.[7]
1977 Products Monsanto stops producing Polychlorinated biphenyls.[7]
1979 Products Monsanto strikes a deal with Genentech in 1979 to license Genentech's patents and collaborate on development of a recombinant version of Bovine somatotropin.
1980 Legal The first US Agent Orange class-action lawsuit us filed for the injuries military personnel in Vietnam suffered through exposure to dioxins in the defoliant.[19] The suit is settled in 1984, with slightly over 45% of the sum paid by Monsanto alone.
1983 Products Monsanto is one of four groups announcing the introduction of genes into plants in 1983.[20]
1984 Legal The trial of Kemner vs. Monsanto (one of the Monsanto legal cases) opens in Illinois.[7] The case involved a group of plaintiffs who claimed to have been poisoned by dioxin in 1979 when a train derailed in Sturgeon, Missouri. Tank cars on the train carried a chemical used to make wood preservatives and "small quantities of a dioxin called 2, 3, 7, 8, TCDD... formed as a part of the manufacturing process."[21]
1985 Acquisitions Monsanto purchases G. D. Searle & Company for $2.7 billion in cash.[22][23]
1986 Products Monsanto sells its American-based commodity plastics, or polystyrene, business to Polysar Ltd., a Canadian petrochemical company.[24]
1993 Products Monsanto's Searle division files a patent application for Celebrex.[25][26]
1994 Products Monsanto introduces a recombinant version of bovine somatotropin, brand-named Posilac.[27]
1995 Products Monsanto's potato plants producing Bt toxin (genetically modified to make a crystalline insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis) are approved for sale by the Environmental Protection Agency, after having approved by the U.S. FDA, making it the first pesticide-producing genetically modified crop to be approved in the United States.[28]
1996 Products Monsanto introduces genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans that are resistant to Roundup (greatly improving a farmer's ability to control weeds, since glyphosate could be sprayed in the fields without harming their crops).[29]
1996 Acquisitions Monsanto acquires Agracetus, the biotechnology company that had generated the first transgenic varieties of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and other crops, and from which Monsanto had been licensing technology since 1991.[30]
1997 Divisions Monsanto spins off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into Solutia.[1][31] This marks the beginning of its pivot from chemical businesses into biotechnology.
1998 Products Monsanto introduces genetically modified Roundup Ready corn that is resistant to Roundup.[29]
1999 Corporation Monsanto merges with Pharmacia and Upjohn,[1] so the agricultural division became a wholly owned subsidiary of the "new" Pharmacia.
2000 Corporation Pharmacia spins off its Monsanto subsidiary into a new company,[1] the "new Monsanto" - which then raises $700 million in a new IPO.[32] The "new Monsanto" is legally distinct from the old pre-2000 Monsanto.
2000 Competition Syngenta is formed in 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals.[33][34] By 2009, it ranks third in seeds and biotechnology sales.[35]
2007 Acquisitions Monsanto purchases Delta & Pine Land Company, a major cotton seed breeder, for $1.5 billion.[36] As a condition for approval from the Department of Justice, Monsanto was obligated to divest its Stoneville cotton business, which it sold to Bayer, and to divest its NexGen cotton business, which it sold to Americot.[37] Monsanto also exited the pig breeding business by selling Monsanto Choice Genetics to Newsham Genetics LC in November, divesting itself of "any and all swine-related patents, patent applications, and all other intellectual property".[38]:108
2013 Acquisitions Monsanto purchases the San Francisco-based Climate Corp for $930 million.[39] Climate Corp. makes more accurate local weather forecasts for farmers based on data modelling and historical data; if the forecasts were wrong, the farmer was recompensed.[40]
2013 Public The March Against Monsanto, a worldwide protest against Monsanto and GMOs takes place.[41]
2015 Products Monsanto rolls out seeds engineered with new herbicide resistance, releasing dicamba-resistant cotton.
2016 Acquisitions Bayer acquires Monsanto for $56 billion.[42]
2016 Products Monsanto buys a license from Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology.[43]


  1. ^ a b c d Glick, J. Leslie (September 1, 2015). "Biotech Firms Need Innovation Strategies". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. p. 11. Retrieved September 29, 2015.open access
  2. ^ Erik Simani, World Resources Institute. 2001. The Monsanto Company: Quest for Sustainability
  3. ^ "Our history - Early years". Monsanto official website. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  4. ^ Marc S. Reisch for Chemical & Engineering News. January 12, 1998 From Coal Tar to Crafting a Wealth of Diversity
  5. ^ Robert Ancuceanu. Saccharin – urban myths and scientific data Practica Farmaceutică 2011 4(2):69-72
  6. ^ Warner, Deborah Jean (2011). Sweet Stuff: An American History of Sweeteners from Sugar to Sucralose. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. pp. 182–190. ISBN 978-1935623052.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Robin, Marie-Monique, The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of the World’s Food Supply New Press, 2009, ISBN 1595584269
  8. ^ "Poisoned By PCBs: "A Lack of Control"". Chemical Industry Archives. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  9. ^ Head, Thomas R., III (Spring 2005). "PCBs—The Rise and Fall of an Industrial Miracle" (PDF). Natural Resources & Environment: 18. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  10. ^ Montague, Peter. "How We Got Here -- Part 1: The History of Chlorinated Diphenyl (PCB's)". HudsonWatch.net.
  11. ^ Ralph Landau, "Charles Allen Thomas," Memorial Tributes, vol. 2, National Academy of Engineering
  12. ^ "Company History". Monsanto.com. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  13. ^ Published: September 15, 2003 (September 15, 2003). "Unilever (Lever Brothers Co.) | AdAge Encyclopedia of Advertising – Advertising Age". Adage.com.
  14. ^ Schuck, 1987: p. 17
  15. ^ William S. Knowles. ASYMMETRIC HYDROGENATIONS. Nobel Lecture, December 8, 2001
  16. ^ E. Fred Schubert (2003). "1". Light-Emitting Diodes. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-8194-3956-7.
  17. ^ Patricia K Donahoe. Judah Folkman: 1933–2008. A Biographical Memoir National Academy of Sciences, 2014
  18. ^ Harvard Medical School Bio at Harvard Medical School
  19. ^ "Dying Veteran May Speak From Beyond The Grave In Court: Lakeland Ledger". 1980-01-25. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  20. ^ "The race towards the first genetically modified plant". Plant Biotech News. 19 June 2013.
  21. ^ "KEMNER v. MONSANTO CO. – July 22, 1991". Leagle.com.
  22. ^ Monsanto To Acquire G. D. Searle. NYTimes.com (July 19, 1985).
  23. ^ Buying Searle A Healthy Move For Monsanto – Chicago Tribune. Articles.chicagotribune.com (June 30, 1986).
  24. ^ Times, Special to the New York (May 17, 1986). "Monsanto to Sell Plastics Segment". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  25. ^ Orange Book: Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations. accessdata.fda.gov
  26. ^ "Patent US5466823 – Substituted pyrazolyl benzenesulfonamides – Google Patents".
  27. ^ "General information – Posilac". Monsanto. 2007. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008.
  28. ^ Genetically Altered Potato Ok'd For Crops Lawrence Journal-World, May 6, 1995.
  29. ^ a b "The Roundup Ready Controversy". Web.mit.edu. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  30. ^ "WR Grace Sells Agracetus to Monsanto for $150M" (PDF) (Press release). W. R. Grace. April 8, 1996 – via BiotechProfiles.
  31. ^ Monsanto Chooses a Spinoff Of Its Chemical Operations – New York Times. Nytimes.com (December 10, 1996).
  32. ^ "Monsanto Raises $700 Million in IPO". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. October 18, 2000.
  33. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin for the New York Times. 3 December 1999 AstraZeneca and Novartis To Shed Agricultural Units Accessed 27 May 2013
  34. ^ Staff, PRNewsWire. 13 November 2000. Syngenta Begins Trading on the New York Stock Exchange Accessed 27 May 2013
  35. ^ Shand, Hope (Summer 2012). "The Big Six: A Profile of Corporate Power in Seeds, Agrochemicals & Biotech" (PDF). The Heritage Farm Companion. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  36. ^ "Monsanto Company Completes Acquisition of Delta and Pine Land Company, Seeks Approval of Related Divestitures". June 1, 2007.
  37. ^ "Monsanto reaches agreement with Department of Justice to acqui". Hpj.com. June 7, 2007.
  38. ^ Richard Twine. Animals as Biotechnology: Ethics, Sustainability and Critical Animal Studies. Earthscan, 2010 ISBN 9781849776356
  39. ^ Gillam, Carey (2 October 2013). "Monsanto posts deeper fourth-quarter loss, unveils acquisition". Reuters.
  40. ^ Vance, Ashlee (2 October 2013) Monsanto's Billion-Dollar Bet Brings Big Data to the Farm Bloomberg Business Week, Technology, Retrieved 16 July 2014
  41. ^ Associated Press. May 25, 2013, Protesters Rally Against U.S. Seed Giant And GMO Products. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  42. ^ Picker, Leslie; Hakim, Danny; Merced, Michael J. de la (September 14, 2016). "Bayer Secures Monsanto Takeover With $56 Billion Bid". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  43. ^ "Monsanto Buys Rights to CRISPR". The-scientist.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.