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Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives inspires our work and our commitment to deliver products and services that are essential building blocks of healthcare.

Baxter’s History

A Legacy of Advancing Essential Healthcare

For more than 80 years, Baxter has introduced significant medical innovations, including the first commercially produced intravenous (IV) solutions and the first home-based dialysis system as an alternative to hemodialysis in a hospital or clinic. Baxter has been highly innovative in providing healthcare solutions to unmet medical needs through scientific advancement as well as strategic acquisitions and partnerships.
The 1930s

1931 — Two physicians, Drs. Ralph Falk and Don Baxter, launch the Don Baxter Intravenous Products Corporation as the first manufacturer of commercially prepared IV solutions. Previously, only large research centers and university hospitals had the facilities to produce their own intravenous solutions, which were of variable quality and limited in quantity.


1933 — The company opens its first manufacturing facility in a renovated automobile showroom in Glenview, Illinois, USA, where six employees produce the complete line of five sterile solutions in glass containers.


1935 — The young company earns a reputation for safety and effectiveness, giving physicians new confidence in IV therapy. The company becomes Baxter Laboratories Inc. and establishes a research and development (R&D) function to continue the company’s pioneering advances in medical technology.


1937 — The company expands into Canada, and a manufacturing facility is built in Acton, Ontario, in 1940.


1939 — Based on the company’s expertise with sterile solutions and vacuum storage containers, Baxter introduces the Transfuso-Vac container for blood collection and storage. Before this breakthrough product, blood could be stored for only a few hours; the new container allows storage for up to 21 days, which makes blood banking practical for the first time.


The 1940s

1941 — When World War II breaks out, only Baxter’s IV solutions and blood collection meet U.S. Armed Forces specifications. The company opens temporary plants to meet increased demand, and after the war, these operations are consolidated at the Glenview facility. Also in 1941, Baxter introduces the Plasma-Vac container, providing the first means of separating plasma from whole blood and storing it for future use.


1945 — Baxter introduces the PLEXITRON line, the first expendable plastic solution sets, which eliminates the problems associated with the cleaning and reuse of latex tubing. This is the first step toward disposable or single-use medical products.


1948 — Baxter’s product line expands to include a new unbreakable plastic container for blood storage, the precursor to the VIAFLEX plastic IV flexible container, a product that serves as a basis for the development of a plastic delivery system for dialysis solutions.


The 1950s

1950 — The company grows quickly and begins increasing production capacity while introducing new products and expanding internationally. The company opens its second U.S. manufacturing facility in Cleveland, Mississippi.


1952 — Baxter acquires Hyland Laboratories, the first U.S. company to make human plasma commercially available.


1954 — The company expands internationally with the opening of an office in Belgium.


1956 — A Dutch physician named Willem Kolff begins searching for a way to use dialysis, the process by which particles pass through a membrane, to treat patients with kidney failure. Constructed of wood slats, orange juice cans, and a cellophane membrane, Kolff’s“artificial kidney” requires extensive setup and takes more than six hours to perform dialysis. Baxter builds on his methods to produce the first commercial dialysis system.


1958 — Baxter becomes the first major healthcare products manufacturer to establish commercial operations in Puerto Rico,under the name Travenol (derived from inTRAVENous sOLutions).


1959 — Baxter acquires Fenwal Laboratories. The unit’s BLOOD-PACK flexible, plastic container system for collecting and processing whole blood later leads to Baxter’s development of the VIAFLEX plastic IV flexible container, another major innovation in IV therapy. The technology is applied eventually to the development of a flexible, plastic container system for dialysis solutions that makes possible continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), another Baxter first.


The 1960s

1960 — Baxter introduces a peritoneal dialysis (PD) solution, the first solution to filter wastes from the blood of people with kidney disease through their peritoneal membrane rather than an external dialyzer.


1961 — Baxter stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


1968 — Baxter introduces the first commercially produced factor VIII concentrate to treat hemophilia.


1969 — Baxter opens its R&D center in Round Lake, Illinois, USA.


The 1970s

1970 — The company introduces VIAFLEX, the first flexible, plastic IV container. This is a major advance in IV therapy, because it allowsthe infusion of IV solution within a closed system, which reduces the chance for contamination.

Also in 1970, construction began on Baxter’s North Cove manufacturing facility in Marion, North Carolina, USA, to supply IV solutions in Baxter’s new VIAFLEX IV containers. The 1.4-million-square-foot facility opened in 1972. Today, the North Cove facility is among the largest IV solutions plants in the world, producinghundreds of different IV and peritoneal dialysis solutions, as well as containers and component parts for other Baxter facilities. North Cove supplies finished goods used in 57 countries, and component parts to manufacturing facilities in 27 countries.


1971 — Baxter joins Fortune magazine’s listing of the 500 largest American corporations. Sales for the year reach $242 million.


1974 — Mini-bag plastic containers are added to Baxter’s line of IV products and eventually lead to the introduction of premixed IV drugs in ready-to-use form.


1975 — The company moves from Morton Grove, Illinois, to its current corporate headquarters, in Deerfield, Illinois.


The 1980s

1983 — Baxter introduces the first heat-treated factor VIII concentrate for hemophilia, reducing the risk of viral transmission.

Also in 1983, Baxter introduces the INFUSOR pump, which incorporates technology to allow patients to receive IV therapy in any setting.


1985 — Baxter acquires American Hospital Supply Corporation and adds healthcare distribution to its core capabilities as a developer of medical technologies.


1988 — Baxter introduces HEMOFILM, the first factor VIII purified by chemical and monoclonal technologies.


The 1990s

1991 — The company introduces the INTERLINK IV Access System, the first “needleless” system for IV therapy, which protects healthcare workers from needle-stick accidents.


1992 — Baxter introduces RECOMBINATE Antihemophilic Factor (recombinant), the first genetically manufactured factor VIII concentrate.


1994 — Baxter introduces the HOMECHOICE automated peritoneal dialysis machine, a compact, user-friendly device that cleanses the patient’s blood overnight. Also in 1994, Baxter opens a new plant in Singapore to manufacture peritoneal dialysis (PD) solutions for the Asian market.


1996 — Baxter receives clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the COLLEAGUE volumetric infusion pump.


1998 — Baxter acquires Ohmeda’s Pharmaceutical Products Division from The BOC Group, the North American leader in the production of inhalation agents and drugs used for general and local anesthesia.

Baxter receives approval from the FDA to market TISSEEL, the firstfibrin sealant in the United States, which is indicated to promote hemostasis and wound sealing in surgery.

Baxter introduces the first “triple chamber” flexible container for total parenteral nutrition, as a way of administering nutrition intravenously.


The 2000s

2001 — Baxter acquires Cook Pharmaceutical Solutions, a manufacturer of prefilled injectable drugs in vials and syringes.


2002 — Baxter receives FDA approval of EXTRANEAL PD solution,a non-glucose-based solution that provides increased fluid removal for some dialysis patients.


2003 — The FDA approves ADVATE, the first recombinant factor VIII concentrate for hemophilia made without any added human or animal proteins in the cell culture, purification, and final formulation process, eliminating the risk of infections caused by viruses that may be carried in such proteins.


2005 — Baxter receives FDA approval for GAMMAGARD LIQUID for patients with immune-system disorders. Baxter introduces FLEXBUMIN, the first albumin in a flexible, plastic container; previously it was available only in a glass container.

Also in 2005, Baxter launches the inhalation anesthetic, sevoflurane.


2007 — Baxter introduces V-LINK, the first needleless IV connector with an antimicrobial coating.


2008 — Baxter receives FDA approval of ARTISS fibrin sealant, the first commercially available slow-setting fibrin sealant used to adhere skin grafts in burn patients.


The 2010s

2011 — Baxter Ventures launches as a means to fund early-stage products and therapies, and accelerate innovation and growth.

Also in 2011:

  • Baxter enters into a definitive agreement to acquire Baxa Corporation, a privately held company that manufactures automated compounding systems for parenteral nutrition and other automation technology for hospital pharmacies.
  • Baxter receives European regulatory approval for the use of KIOVIG to treat multifocal motor neuropathy, an autoimmune disorder characterized by progressive weakness in the limbs.
  • The FDA approves subcutaneous administration of GAMMAGARD LIQUID for patients with primary immunodeficiency.


2012 — Baxter completes the purchase of Sigma International General Medical Apparatus, LLC (SIGMA), a leading global manufacturer of smart infusion pump technology.

Also in 2012, Baxter acquires Synovis Life Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of biological and mechanical products used for soft-tissue repair and microsurgery procedures.


2013 — Baxter acquires Gambro AB, a global innovator in in-center hemodialysis and acute renal care products.

Also in 2013, Baxter receives European Union marketing approval for VIVIA, a home-based hemodialysis system designed to deliver more frequent, extended duration, short daily or nocturnal home hemodialysis therapy, known as High Dose Hemodialysis.

Also in 2013, Baxter receives European Union marketing approval for HEMOPATCH Sealing Hemostat, a novel resorbable collagen-based pad to help control bleeding in a variety of surgical scenarios.


2014 — Baxter receives U.S. and Canada regulatory clearance for the next-generation SIGMA Spectrum Infusion System, which incorporates increased capacity for the system’s Master Drug Library safety software and new asset tracking capabilities.

Also in 2014, Baxter’s Medical Products business expanded its R&D network with the establishment of a new center of excellence in Suzhou, China, focused on formulation, analytical chemistry, process development, and container development. The site will address global needs while pursuing opportunities specific to emerging Asia Pacific markets.


2015 — Baxter successfully spins off its BioScience business into Baxalta Incorporated, another New York Stock Exchange listed company.



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