Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing.
Sigma-Aldrich has a broad offering of more than 147,000 chemical products (48,000 of which the Company manufactures) and 40,000 equipment items.
Customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry.
The company reported revenues of $2.6 billion in 2012, a 5% increase, and net income of $460 million.
The company operates in 37 countries with around 9,000 employees.
The company's roots spring from 1934 in St. Louis, MO, when two brothers, Aaron Fischer and Bernard Fischlowitz, launched a small consulting firm. The two chemical engineers named their partnership Midwest Consultants parent company of Sigma Chemical Company and began to help St. Louis businesses produce a variety of specialty products including cosmetics, shoe dressings, and adhesives and inks for cardboard packaging. The firm incorporated in 1935 and hired Dan Broida, another chemical engineer out of Washington University in St. Louis, to manage the company's growing consulting and production businesses.
During World War II, Midwest manufactured ammunition components and made felt and paper parts for signal flares. In addition, saccharin was in high demand and short supply. To fill the need, Broida formed Sigma Chemical Company as a division of Midwest Consultants. For a year, major distributing companies bought saccharin as fast as Sigma could produce it. When the war ended, however, supplies of many raw materials again became plentiful and effectively forced Sigma out of the market.
In its search for a new direction, Sigma's turn toward research biochemicals came in the form of Lou Berger, a friend of Broida who had completed a MS degree in biochemistry at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine under Nobel Laureates Carl and Gerty Cori. As a graduate student, one of Berger's tasks had been to extract adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from rabbit muscle. ATP is a major source of energy in living organisms and was used extensively in the Cori's research. The Coris and other biomedical researchers at this time were involved in studies requiring ATP in quantity. Berger suggested that Sigma produce the compound on a larger scale and taught his process to Sigma personnel. A small ad in a scientific journal brought orders and Broida expanded production. Within two years, Sigma offered eight additional ATP derivatives and raised purity levels.
Updated December 1, 2013