GSK commits to UK manufacturing with £275m investments across three sites

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/amber_b
Image: iStock/amber_b

Related tags: Glaxosmithkline

GSK will pump £275m ($360m) into its UK manufacturing network and says the country has a “leading position in life sciences” despite the recent Brexit vote.

Over £90m will be used to construct an aseptic sterile facility at its Barnard Castle, County Durham site to support its biopharma pipeline, while the rest will be used to strengthen its respiratory product business.

This will include a £110m new facility for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) at its Montrose site in Scotland, and a £74m expansion at its Ware, Hertfordshire site to increase capacity for its Ellipta respiratory inhaler.

The news comes just months after GSK opened a £56m inhaler plant​ at Ware, driving capacity at the site to 37 million inhalers a year for the global market.

“The demand for Ellipta continues to grow, and this is the next phase of the expansion at Ware, following up from the line which was opened back in April,”​ GSK spokesperson Anna Carruth told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.

Brexit

The decision to inject £275m into the UK comes just over a month to the day the UK public voted to leave the European Union​. The referendum has negatively affected global markets, weakened the pound, and has led to a level of uncertainty among the business community, not least the pharma industry.

Carruth did not reveal whether the decision to invest or the timing of the announcement had been affected by the Brexit vote, but in a press release CEO Andrew Witty described the news as a “testament to our skilled UK workforce and the country’s leading position in life sciences that we are making these investments in advanced manufacturing here.”

After the referendum the firm told us that it did "not currently anticipate a material adverse impact on the business" ​and would "continue to operate as usual." 

Lawyers Dr. Stephan Rau and Emmanuelle Trombe from the law firm McDermott Will & Emery partners even said at the time that while “uncertainty created by the Brexit vote is generally bad for the economy,”​ there could be some upsides, and “UK pharmaceutical companies like GSK may even benefit from a lower pound, which will enable higher profitability.”

Patent Box

Despite the potential loss of the EU single economy, the firm described the UK as an attractive location for investment due in part to its competitive corporate tax system.

The patent box​, for example offers firms a lower rate of corporation tax on profits generated from UK-owned intellectual property, and GSK was at the forefront of encouraging the UK Government to pass the legislation in 2012. The day after the patent box was introduced​, the firm committed £500m to a new API and vaccine production plant in Ulverston, Cumbria.

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