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Johnson & Johnson 125 Years

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History

Johnson & Johnson was founded over 120 years ago. Since then, we have developed new ideas and products which have transformed human health and well-being. Every invention, every product and every breakthrough has been powered by generations of employees who are inspired make a difference.

 

Since the 1950s, Swiss companies have belonged to the Family of Companies, which unites more than 250 subsidiaries in 60 countries.

 

Start with sterile wound care
First consumer articles and international expansion
Our credo – responsibility for health
Market entry in Switzerland
Strengthening competence
Biotechnology and minimally invasive procedures
Integration of o.b.®, Penaten® and Pfizer OTC
A Growing Location

Start with sterile wound care
Johnson & Johnson was founded as a family business in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1886. Brothers Robert, James and Edward Johnson recognized physicians’ need to improve and simplify hygiene in their practices. The success of their medical products, including sterile suture and dressing material, allowed the young company to grow rapidly.

First consumer articles and international expansion
The Johnson brothers expanded their product line over the next 40 years – to include consumer goods such as tooth floss, sanitary pads and baby powder. Johnson & Johnson was on track for international expansion – with products soon available in Canada and the UK. The Medical and Pharmaceuticals business units also experienced further development and brought contraceptives and pain relievers onto the market.

Our credo – responsibility for health
In the 1940s, Johnson & Johnson broadened its product portfolio in the Medical and Pharmaceuticals areas. The company expanded into Latin America and South America, while entering the markets of several more European countries. Research-based companies such as Johnson & Johnson began to play an increasingly important role in the field of medical advancements. This role brought with it a special responsibility. In 1943, CEO Robert Wood Johnson laid out this responsibility in our Credo. Thanks to its global success, Johnson & Johnson became a publicly listed company in 1944.

Market entry in Switzerland
In the following decades, Johnson & Johnson continued to expand its business in Africa, Latin America and Asia while following a new growth strategy in Europe with clear success: In 1956, the company purchased suture German material factory Georg Busch and pharmaceutical company Dr. Remy, which jointly operated under the Ethicon name in 1960. Johnson & Johnson made its debut in Switzerland at about the same time. In 1959, the company acquired pharmaceutical manufacturer Cilag AG – an important milestone for the pharmaceutical division.

Strengthening competence
In the following years, Johnson & Johnson incorporated additional companies from the Pharmaceuticals area, including American company McNeil Laboratories and the Belgian firm Janssen Pharmaceutica. Johnson & Johnson has contributed to medical progress with groundbreaking developments. For example, when in 1974 the German Ethicon brought the first synthetic suture onto the market, which breaks down in the body after a wound has healed.

Biotechnology and minimally invasive procedures
From 1986, the company began strengthening its expertise in the Medical area. Johnson & Johnson’s acquisitions included DePuy, a global leader in orthopedic products. The company also founded two specialist companies: Ortho Biotech Products, a pioneer in the field of biotechnology and Ethicon Endo-Surgery, active in the field of minimally invasive surgery.

Integration of O.B.®, PENATEN® and Pfizer OTC
The Consumer Health Care area also experienced continued growth. In 1973, Johnson & Johnson acquired German company Carl Hahn GmbH, producer of o.b.® brand tampons. In the 1980s and 1990s, the traditional brands PENATEN®, NEUTROGENA® and ROC® also became part of the family of companies. In 2006, the company expanded its consumer goods line with non-prescription medications: Johnson & Johnson acquired the Consumer Health Care division of Pfizer and expanded its product portfolio with brands such as DOLORMIN®, IMODIUM® akut, LIVOCAB™ and NICORETTE®.

A Growing Location
Johnson & Johnson has continuously strengthened Switzerland as one of its business locations. Since 1991, a number of production and development businesses in Neuchâtel have together formed a center of excellence for the company’s Medical division, with 1,000 employees working on applications in areas such as neurosurgery, sports medicine and orthopedics. Since 2003, the Johnson & Johnson portfolio in Switzerland has also included the innovative implant technology of the company DePuy.

 

The latest additions to the company – the acquisition of Crucell in 2011 and of Synthes in 2012 – make Johnson & Johnson the largest American employer in Switzerland. More than 6,000 employees now also produce vaccines, antibodies, implants, surgical instruments and biomaterials.
 

Johnson & Johnson (Corporate) | www.jnj.com

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Our Credo (PDF, 20,3 KB)

More on company history

Further details, including product innovations, can be found on the Johnson & Johnson global website.