ABBOTT PARK, Ill., April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At the annual
meeting of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) shareholders today, Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer Miles D. White highlighted the company's scientific
efforts; the successful integration of Knoll; and the performance of its two
business groups, pharmaceuticals and medical products.
"In 2001, Abbott Laboratories delivered excellent results," said Mr.
White. "But more importantly, we positioned our company to remain strong and
successful for years to come. By investing in new technology platforms,
accessing global scientific talent and targeting our efforts to address unmet
patient needs, we've strengthened our science and entered new growth markets."
Mr. White announced that today Abbott's Board of Directors appointed
Deloitte & Touche LLP as its independent public auditors for the year ending
December 31, 2002. The firm will replace Arthur Andersen LLP.
In the pharmaceutical products business, Mr. White highlighted D2E7
(adalimumab) for rheumatoid arthritis that was developed using Knoll human
monoclonal antibody technology. Abbott recently submitted regulatory
applications to market D2E7 for rheumatoid arthritis in both the United States
Mr. White also discussed Abbott's strong position as a leader in cancer
research and its extensive oncology pipeline with products in every stage of
development. Abbott is conducting research in several novel, targeted
approaches for treating cancer, including angiogenesis inhibitors, monoclonal
antibodies, kinase inhibitors and endothelin antagonists. These targeted
therapies focus on multiple phases of cancer progression.
Abbott's most promising drug in its oncology pipeline is a treatment for
prostate cancer called atrasentan (ABT-627), an endothelin antagonist.
Atrasentan appears to delay the progression of prostate cancer that does not
respond to hormone treatment and it also seems to inhibit the spread of cancer
to patients' bones. These preliminary results have led the FDA to grant
atrasentan fast-track review status.
For the medical products business, Mr. White indicated that cardiovascular
medicine will continue to be an important market for Abbott. The company
recently entered into an agreement to acquire the cardiovascular stent
business of Biocompatibles International to advance Abbott's drug-coated stent
program. Abbott will begin human trials with its stents and proprietary drug
coating later this year. The company also acquired Vysis, Inc. to strengthen
its portfolio of cancer diagnostics and add important technology to its
molecular diagnostics business.
Mr. White concluded his speech by stating, "The strategic actions we've
taken in the past few years have broadened our global presence; expanded our
array of next-generation technologies, including biotechnology platforms; and
focused our efforts on patient need, and by extension, high-growth markets."
During the meeting, shareholders defeated a proposal requesting that the
company implement a policy to provide pharmaceuticals for the prevention and
treatment of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in ways that the majority of infected
persons in African nations can afford.
In the discussion of the proposal, Mr. White said that Abbott has been
actively engaged in the fight against AIDS in Africa for the past few years.
The Abbott Access program provides the company's two HIV protease inhibitor
drugs, Norvir(R) (ritonavir) and Kaletra(R) (lopinavir/ritonavir), as well as
its HIV rapid test, Determine(TM), at no profit to least-developed countries.
To date, Abbott's products are available in 35 countries in Africa. In
addition, the company launched Step Forward, a global philanthropic program
aimed at building basic health care infrastructure and addressing education
needs in countries, such as Tanzania and Burkina Faso, where HIV infection
rates are high and needs are great. Abbott is also providing bulk malaria
medication to the World Health Organization at no profit.
Abbott's board of directors also were elected during the annual meeting.
Elected were 14 incumbent directors. They are:
-- Roxanne S. Austin, president and chief operating officer, DIRECTV,
-- H. Laurance Fuller, retired co-chairman of the board, BP Amoco p.l.c.;
-- Richard A. Gonzalez, president and chief operating officer, medical
products group, Abbott Laboratories;
-- Jack M. Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer, McDonald's
-- David A. Jones, chairman, Humana Inc.;
-- Jeffrey M. Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief operating officer,
pharmaceutical products group, Abbott Laboratories;
-- The Rt. Hon. Lord Owen CH, physician, politician and businessman;
-- Boone Powell Jr., retired chairman, Baylor Health Care System;
-- Addison Barry Rand, former chairman and chief executive officer, Avis
Group Holdings, Inc.;
-- W. Ann Reynolds, Ph.D., president, The University of Alabama at
-- Roy S. Roberts, retired group vice president, North American Vehicle
Sales, Service and Marketing, General Motors Corporation;
-- William D. Smithburg, retired chairman, president and chief executive
officer, The Quaker Oats Company;
-- John R. Walter, retired president and chief operating officer, AT&T
Corporation; former chairman and chief executive officer, R. R.
Donnelley & Sons Company; and
-- Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott
Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted
to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals,
nutritionals and medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The
company employs approximately 70,000 people and markets its products in more
than 130 countries. In 2001, the company's sales and net earnings were
$16.3 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively, with diluted earnings per share
of $1.88, excluding one-time charges.
Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the
company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com .