GSK boosts API manufacturing with £54m facility in Scotland

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/iweta0077)
(Image: Getty/iweta0077)

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GSK has opened a manufacturing plant in Montrose, Scotland, where the firm will make APIs for its Ellipta respiratory medicines.

Alongside the firm’s site in Singapore, the £54m ($69.8m) Montrose facility will support the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for a range of respiratory drugs; this includes combination asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drug Relvar Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol), also known as Breo Ellipta in the US.

Unlike GSK’s diskus inhaler system, which is used to deliver blockbuster asthma and COPD medicine Advair (fluticasone propionate/salmeterol), Ellipta can hold one or two blister strips, and as such, can be used to deliver drugs containing one or two APIs.

It is not expected that the highly-automated facility will significantly impact headcount. GSK employs around 1,000 people in Scotland, and 17,000 across the UK.

GSK has made a number of investments in Ellipta production since the inhaler received European marketing approval in 2013, including the construction of a £56m manufacturing site in Hertfordshire, UK, which opened in 2016​.

Scottish support

According​ to Steve Dunlop, Scottish Enterprise CEO, the opening is a “fantastic endorsement” ​of Scotland as a location for business investment.

“Global companies like GSK choose to invest here because we have unrivalled talent to research, develop and manufacture innovative medicines that positively impact lives all over the world.

“We’ll continue to help GSK grow its business locally and nationally to create sustainable and inclusive jobs, and recognise its significant contribution to Scotland’s thriving life sciences sector,” ​he added.

Business reshuffle

The news comes weeks after GSK announced plans​ to reduce headcount at an API manufacturing plant in Ulverston, UK.

According to the firm, a review of the facility prompted its decision to “phase out” ​the manufacturing of active ingredients for sterile injections at the site – downsizing staff numbers by approximately 200.

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