UK PHARMACEUTICAL giant GSK has announced it will invest £275m (US$361m) to expand three of its UK manufacturing sites, despite the country voting to leave the EU in June.
The announcement comes after 197 UK business leaders – including GSK’s CEO Sir Andrew Witty – signed a letter in February that stated if the UK left the EU, it would “deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk”.
The investment will boost production and support delivery of its latest respiratory and large molecule medicines at its sites in Barnard Castle, Montrose, and Ware. The majority of the products that will be produced are intended for export.
Barnard Castle, in County Durham, will receive around £92m for the construction of an aseptic sterile facility supporting the manufacture of existing and new biopharmaceutical assets. The site employs 1,100 people and supplies almost 500,000 product packs/d to 140 global markets.
Scotland’s Montrose will receive approximately £110m for upgrading its respiratory active ingredient manufacturing facility. The site supports 450 staff and also manufactures HIV and vaccine products.
Ware, in Hertfordshire, will receive around £74m to expand the manufacturing capacity of GSK’s new Ellipta respiratory inhaler. The site employs 1,200 people and manufactures new respiratory products.
GSK says “new employment opportunities” will be created at the sites in addition to the construction jobs associated with the announcement.
The company has invested £750m in new facilities over the past six years. This latest decision takes the total up to over £1bn.
GSK views the UK as an “attractive location for investment”, due to its high technological and scientific capabilities and infrastructure, and a skilled workforce.
Sir Andrew said: “It is 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.”
GSK also recognised the UK’s competitive corporate tax system which encourages investment in R&D and manufacturing by charging a lower rate of corporation tax on profits generated from UK-owned intellectual property.
GSK has nine manufacturing sites in the UK, employing approximately 6,000 people.
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