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GSK invests £200m in UK medicine manufacturing

Will upgrade two sites and build centre for manufacturing innovation
GSK GlaxoSmithKline house

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to make a major investment in its UK medicines manufacturing base.

The pharma company will spend about £200m to upgrade two sites in Hertfordshire and Sussex and build a new centre focused on developing new innovations in the way medicines are manufactured.

The site in Ware, Hertfordshire, is focused on the manufacture of the Revlar Ellipta inhaler – a device to administer medicines for respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

The other facility in Worthing, Sussex, will be upgraded to improve its production of the antibiotic Augmentin.

Perhaps most interesting is GSK's plans for a centre for manufacturing innovation, which the company says will be “dedicated to transforming emerging science and technologies into practical manufacturing applications”.

Specific technologies that could have applications in manufacturing, according to GSK, include the use of enzymes and biologically inspired catalysts that mimic natural reactions, with nanotechnologies another area of interest.

The company did not specify where this centre would be built, although the preferred location is Ware, near GSK's existing manufacturing facility.

The investment comes at a troubled time for the UK pharma industry as the likes of AstraZeneca, Shire and Novartis all planning to scale down their activities.

GSK put a more positive spin on the UK pharma environment, however, claiming the introduction of the patent box – a reduction in corporation tax on income derived from patents held in the UK – meant the country remained a “globally competitive location for investment in high-tech manufacturing and research facilities”.

Indeed GSK has been one of pharma's biggest investors in the UK in recent years, including a £500m investment in March 2012 to build a new factory in Cumbria a well as recent funding to expand operations in Montrose, Scotland.

UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt referenced this week's G8 dementia summit when welcoming GSK's announcement.

"On the day when we are bringing together the health leaders of the developed world, researchers and pharmaceutical countries to launch the global fight against dementia, it is great to see GSK investing more money and resources into UK life sciences,” he said.

“GSK's decision to invest in the UK shows we are creating the right conditions for global investment, leading to job creation and growth, as well as maintaining the UK's place as a world leader in innovation."

Article by
Thomas Meek

12th December 2013

From: Sales

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