Financial History Issue 113 (Spring 2015) | Page 37

Toronto first produced insulin, a pancreatic extract that had a seemingly miraculous effect on diabetics. After two years of work, the company perfected the method to produce commercial quantities of that extract, bringing it extraordinary sales and profits. During the next few decades, it pioneered the synthesis of other drugs, and became an important producer of penicillin. By 1950, this private company had about 200 stockholders, most of whom were employees or descendants of the founder. It achieved partial public ownership by floating a limited number of shares in the over-the-counter stock market in 1952; in July 1970, it offered more shares and made trading more feasible through a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. that were available only as fluid extracts of unstable and varying potency or pills that were not easily dissolved in the st