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13:11 Thursday 26 September 2013  Written by James Preston

Pharmaceutical company AbbVie builds on 125 years of history

AbbVie general manager Matt Regan and director of communications Gwenan White
AbbVie general manager Matt Regan and director of communications Gwenan White

It's been a busy year for AbbVie.

At just nine-months-old, it may be surprising to learn the pharmaceutical company has more than 20,000 employees working worldwide to provide products for more than 170 countries - but AbbVie is not exactly a fledgling business.

Despite officially beginning trading in January, the firm has 125 years of history behind it after it was formed following the decision to split the well-respected Abbott Laboratories into two companies with distinct focuses.

Abbott has continued to be based around medical products, but AbbVie is focused on research-based biopharmaceuticals, building on a legacy of advancing science and helping to treat complex diseases.

Despite being a global company with offices around the world, Maidenhead is central to the operations of both businesses.

Abbott has had a UK base in Maidenhead since 1987 and, following the separation announcement, AbbVie took the decision to remain at the company's offices in the Vanwall Business Park, sharing some resources.

AbbVie director of communications, Gwenan White, explained the UK plays a 'vital role' in pharmaceutical research, with the company employing about 400 people in the country, many of whom are based in Maidenhead.

The firm works closely with the NHS, and many employees based in the UK have international and global roles in the industry.

Despite its close links with Abbott, AbbVie is keen to branch out and create its own identity.

Gwenan said the split had allowed the company to become more focused on its goals and 'make decisions in a more agile way'.

"It's quite unusual to be launching or creating a new company coming off such a strong base," she added. "We are a new company and we want to work slightly differently."

The two businesses want to be independent of each other, but one legacy AbbVie wants to continue is Abbott's reputation for work in the community.

It has already created a link with Open Kitchen Foodshare, based in King Street, and is in discussions with local businesses to find ways to benefit the area.

"At a local level we think it's really important that we have that relationship with the local community," said Gwenan.

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