Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

Harvard Business School Baker Library Historical Collections

Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Baxter Laboratories, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Baxter Laboratories, Inc.

List of Deals

In 1931 Dr. Ralph Falk, Harry Falk, and Dr. Donald Baxter founded Don Baxter Intravenous Products Company to distribute IV solutions to midwestern hospitals. The company was established to manufacture large, closely controlled supplies of solutions, as at the time only large research centers and university hospitals were able to produce such solutions. In 1933 the company opened a manufacturing facility in Glenview, Illinois.

Ralph Falk purchased Baxter's interest in the company in 1935 and began a research and development program. In 1939 the company created Transfuso-Vac, a sterile vacuum-type blood collection and storage unit, which stored blood for weeks rather than hours. The company produced Plasma-Vac in 1941, which separated plasma from whole blood and stored the plasma for later use. Both products were in high demand during World War II, and the company provided them to the U.S. armed forces. Sales by 1945 were over $1.5 million.

In 1948 Baxter expanded its product line to include Fenwal Laboratories' new unbreakable plastic container for blood storage. Baxter created Travenol Laboratories, a pharmaceutical specialties division, in 1949. Travenol was responsible for developing and marketing chemical compounds and medical equipment. The company continued to grow during the 1950s, making key acquisitions. Dr. William B. Graham was named president and chief executive officer of the company in 1953. Graham was responsible for the company's decision to support the research of Dr. Willem Kolff, who was investigating dialysis procedures and kidney failure. In 1956 Baxter introduced the first commercially built kidney dialysis system, representing the company's first move into a field in which it would become known as an innovator. The company went public with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1961. By 1962 the business and operations of Baxter were carried out by four operating divisions: Baxter/Travenol Laboratories, Wallerstein Company, Hyland Laboratories, and Flint, Eaton & Company.

Harvard Business School Harvard Business School Baker Library Histrorical Collections