Our history

GSK was formed in 2000 following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome plc and SmithKline Beecham plc, but our combined histories go back much further than that.

The company has gained vast experience within healthcare in the past centuries and performs ground-breaking work in the area of drug development. In this way, GSK has made a significant contribution to improving the health and quality of life of millions of people.

Plough Court Pharmacy

The very first predecessor of GSK, Plough Court Pharmacy, dates from 1715.

Predecessors of GSK in Belgium made numerous discoveries in the 1930s and marketed medicines that are still considered as milestones in the history of healthcare.

Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutique

The company R.I.T. (Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutique), founded by Pieter Desomer together with Christian de Duve in Genval and Rixensart, brought the life-saving medicine penicillin to the market in the 1940s. They began manufacturing cortisone in the second half of the 1950s. The revolutionary new antibiotics known as cephalosporins and the medicines for treating acute asthma attacks followed in the 1960s.



After various takeovers within the pharmaceutical world, GSK was created from a merger and the Belgian branches developed into the world’s largest supplier of human vaccines.

Stiefel and ViiV Healthcare

GSK becomes a leader in skincare with the acquisition of Stiefel in 2009. GSK and Pfizer launched ViiV Healthcare, a company focused on delivering advances in treatment and care for HIV communities. Find out more about ViiV Healthcare.