1780 - 1850
J.F Macfarlan was founded in 1780 followed by D Flockhart in 1816 and then T & H Smith in 1827. Discoveries during this time included the isolation of Morphine in 1816 and the first liquid essence of coffee in 1840. Duncan Flockhart also supplied Chloroform to Sir James Simpson in 1847.
1850 - 1900
This period represents the largest number of discoveries by our founding companies, which still have major significance for the pharmaceutical world today. In 1851, T & H Smith discovered Aloin, and in 1855, the first Morphine injection was developed. J.F Macfarlan developed sterile dressings for Lord Lister and T & H Smith was the first company to produce commercial quantities of Apomorphine, which is used today to treat Parkinson's disease and erectile dysfunction. Diamorphine was also developed in 1887.
1900 - 1950
In 1906, T & H Smith moved their premises from Canongate, in the old town in Edinburgh, to the current site, which was then on the city perimeter. During World War I, the company supplied Morphine and approx. 7.500 tonnes of Lint Dressings to the military. In 1919, T & H Smith bought Glasgow Apothecaries.
1950 - Present
In 1958, Bitrex® was discovered during development work on the anaesthetic, Lignocaine. It quickly became the denaturant of choice in over 40 countries for industrial alcohol. By the 1980s, Bitrex® was used as a safety additive in household products such as liquid detergents, with Tesco PLC being the first supermarket to display the Bitrex® brand on their products.
This period also saw significant activity in relation to mergers and acquisitions. In 1962, T & H Smith bought Duncan Flockhart, and along with J.F Macfarlan merged to form Edinburgh Pharmaceuticals. Three years later, the Glaxo Group bought Edinburgh Pharmaceuticals and used the name Macfarlan Smith Ltd. Macfarlan Smith remained part of Glaxo until 1990, when there was a Management Buy Out. In 1995, Macfarlan Smith Limited was floated on the London Stock Market under the holding company Meconic (which is the Greek word for Poppy).
In 2001, Johnson Matthey plc acquired Meconic for its increasingly important Fine Chemical & Catalysts division.