As Jack Napier (the film's name for the future Joker) was a mobster, Axis Chemicals was one of Carl Grissom's properties, but it was getting dangerous, and the police were planning a raid. As Napier suggested to burn the company's records, Grissom set Napier up to be arrested by the police during the raid. But then, Batman showed up at the facility, and when Napier tried to shoot him, Batman deflected his shots into his face, wounding Napier and causing him to fall into a massive pool of toxic chemicals. Napier survived, but was deformed by the chemicals, as his surgeon had told him; "You understand that the nerves were completely severed, Mr. Napier." Napier then left the surgeon's room and became Joker.
After Joker shot Grissom, he took over Axis Chemicals, using it to poison beauty products in Gotham City.