The facility in Ware, Hertfordshire will made inhalers for GSK’s range of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease products. The UK drug firm spent £56m ($80m) on the project which it says will create 150 jobs.
Plans for the facility were announced in December 2013 as part of GSK’s efforts to revitalise its respiratory drug portfolio in the face of generic competition for its asthma blockbuster Seretide, which is known as Advair in the US.
In the years since GSK has won approval for a range of respiratory products – Anoro, Incruse, Revlar to name a few – all of which are delivered using the Ellipta device.
GSK said that the Ware plant – combined with existing capacity at an adjacent facility - will allow it so make 37 million inhalers a year by 2017.
The opening of the new plant follows two years after GSK teamed up with engineers from motor racing team Mclaren F1 to increase capacity at the existing manufacturing plant.
As a result of the collaboration, GSK employees managed to better the 45,000 Ellipta devices per day manufacturing target by some 10,000 units after the race team’s experts identified bottlenecks in production lines
GSK is also installing an Ellipta manufacturing line at its facility in Zebulon, North Carolina in the US, which is expects to be operational in January next year.
The Ellipta device differs from GSK’s diskus system – which is used to deliver Advair – in that can hold one or two blister strips, with each blister containing a sealed single dose of medication.
This means Ellipta can be used to deliver drugs containing one or two APIs and – according to the authors of a GSK funded study – “enables the formulations for each product to be developed individually, since they are stored separately until the point of administration.”