When Wallace Abbott first opened the doors to his pharmacy in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, Illinois was one of 38 United States.
Dr. Abbott was 15 years ahead of the Wright Brothers' first flight and 20 years ahead of Henry Ford's Model T.
And now, a third of the way through our second century, through two World Wars and to the first man on the moon, through the fall of the Berlin Wall and to the rise of the Internet, Abbott is still here — and stronger than ever — because it has never stopped evolving.
For one very simple reason: "Necessity."
"As a company that's been in business for more than 130 years, Abbott provides a clear illustration. You might assume that a company that old will be slow, backward looking, set in its ways. But — almost by definition — that can't be true because a company can't last 130 years without reinventing itself constantly for the changing world around it."
Those words — delivered Monday by Abbott Executive Chairman Miles White during a special keynote address to the 2020 Chicago Innovation Awards celebration — make clear the foundation on which our company has operated since 1888.
For that commitment to continual reinvention, the company has been honored myriad times for its technological breakthroughs.
This year proved the power of "necessity" for innovation like no other.
With the world gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and a vaccine not yet a reality, one of the best hopes to getting back to something of normalcy lies in access to fast, reliable, affordable COVID-19 testing at massive scale.
As part of a suite of tests from the company that are helping meet that universal demand, our BinaxNOW COVID-19 test and NAVICA mobile app — the first rapid antigen test to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA that doesn't require any instrumentation — is exactly what the world needs now: fast, reliable, affordable and available on a massive scale.
"It could be used by healthcare professionals in a variety of locations such as schools and workplaces," said Abbott President and CEO Robert Ford in accepting the award on behalf of the company. "And BinaxNOW pairs with our complementary mobile app NAVICA, which displays users' test results. With this combined solution, a person's COVID status can be quickly verified to provide confidence in accessing common gathering places."
And it's why BinaxNOW and NAVICA were among those honored by the Chicago Innovation Awards.
This year's award marks the 11th in the Chicago Innovation Awards' 19 years that Abbott has been recognized, the most by any company.
Previous Abbott winners include:
2019 for Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder
2018 for FreeStyle Libre
2017 for Similac Pro-Advance and Similac Pro-Sensitive
2015 for MitraClip
2010 for ARCHITECT HIV Ag/Ab Combo Test
2009 for Similac SimplePac container
2008 for XIENCE V Everolimus Eluting Coronary Stent System
2007 for Abbott m2000 molecular diagnostic instrument in combination with the RealTime HIV-1 viral load test
2005 for PathVysion breast cancer test
2003 for HUMIRA, a biologic treatment for certain immunological diseases.
Note: HUMIRA is no longer an Abbott product. More information is available here.
"We'd like to express our sincere gratitude to the Chicago Innovation Awards for recognizing the Abbott people around the world who’ve worked 24/7 this year to develop this important test to help beat the virus," Ford told the virtual gala. "We also want to congratulate our fellow honorees who are doing so much to make Chicago a thriving and dynamic global hub for innovation."
Indeed, the Chicago area has long been the home of high-flying companies with big ideas about how to make the world a better place.
"'Pioneering' is one of our stated core values, taught to every Abbott person," White told the audience. "We make it clear to everyone who joins the company — and continually thereafter — that we're here to create the future of healthcare. And we make it equally clear that the same principle applies in everything we do as a company — not just the lab. Because everything can always be better, and it's our job to make it that way.
"We insist on staying current and relevant."
For all the changes the future will hold, we'll never veer from that insistence.
The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card EUA has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens, and is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.