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Burroughs Wellcome (USA) Inc. is an American company which began as the small New York sales branch of the medium-sized Burroughs Wellcome & Co., established in London by American pharmacists Henry Wellcome and Silas Burroughs. From 1936 the entire Burroughs Wellcome business organization was owned by the Wellcome Trust, founded by Sir Henry Wellcome, one of the most fascinating men of his time. In 1995 Glaxo merged with Wellcome to become Glaxo Wellcome, and just 5 years later it in turn merged with SmithKline Beecham to form the pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). Concentrating on the story of the New York-based Burroughs Wellcome USA Inc., Roy Church’s masterly history analyses the scientiÿ c research and product innovation in which – in contrast to the parent company – the subsidiary in the US excelled by way of the discovery and development, during the 1980s, of the antiviral drug, Zovirax for the treatment of herpes, and the antiretroviral, Retrovir. The wealth which Wellcome’s companies had created ensured that the future lay with the Wellcome Trust (UK) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (US) which continue to perpetuate the Imprint: Crucible Books name of its founder and to fulfill his philanthropic ideals in the twenty-first century on a scale which he could not have imagined.
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Roy Church is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of East Anglia, England.
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