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GSK reveals plans for £400m R&D facility expansion in England

GSK has formally started the process of seeking a development partner for the expansion plans

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has revealed plans to expand a research and development (R&D) facility in Stevenage, England into a ‘cluster’ for biotechnology and other early-stage life sciences companies.

GSK has formally started the process of seeking a development partner for the expansion plans, which it said would unlock up to £400m in new investment from a private sector developer to build the new campus.

The expansion could also potentially create up to 5,000 highly skilled jobs over the next five years, the British drugmaker added in a statement.

GSK’s plans for the new site were developed alongside Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK government, Stevenage Borough Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The expansion would build on the existing life sciences and biotech presence in Stevenage, including the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and SBC which are already on site.

“The past 18 months have shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious ten-year vision for the UK life sciences sector,” said Tony Wood, senior vice president, medicinal science & technology at GSK.

“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade. We are excited to find a development partner to realise our vision to foster the next generation of world-class scientists and biotechnology firms in Britain,” he added.

GSK is expecting to select a development partner for the expansion project later this year, aiming to start master planning for the new campus in 2022.

The new campus will be located next to GSK’s existing site at Stevenage and could deliver 100,000 square metres of new floorspace for commercial life sciences research and development.

Last month, GSK unveiled its ten-year strategy, with chief executive officer Emma Walmsley revealing the company is expecting product sales to reach £33bn ($46bn) by 2031.

Walmsley has come under increasing pressure to improve GSK’s performance ahead of a planned split of the company’s consumer health and biopharma divisions that is 'well underway'.

Those pressures were exacerbated after it was reported earlier this year that activist hedge fund Elliott Management had built up a sizeable stake in the British drugmaker.

In response to a letter written by Elliott Management asking the GSK board to carefully consider the ‘right leadership’ for the company, the board said that it ‘strongly believes’ that Walmsley is the ‘right leader’ for the new biopharma business.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

16th July 2021

From: Research, Marketing

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