GlaxoSmithKline is to build its first UK manufacturing facility in nearly four decades at Ulverston, Cumbria, as part of a new £500m investment plan.
The £350m development will be joined by a £100m investment at GSK’s manufacturing sites in Montrose and Irvine, Scotland, and a combined £80m project at Ware, Hertfordshire, and at Barnard Castle, County Durham.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the “major investment” as “excellent news” for the UK economy and life sciences sector.
It’s believed the investment will create as many as 1,000 new jobs across the UK in measures GSK hopes will increase productivity of key active ingredients.
The investment represents one of the largest commitments to the life science sector in recent years, GSK says.
The plan follows the Government’s confirmation in its Budget that it will implement a “patent box” scheme to encourage and reward UK innovation by lowering corporation tax on profits gained from UK-owned intellectual property.
Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s CEO – who was recently awarded a knighthood for services to the economy and the UK pharmaceutical industry – said the introduction of the incentive has “transformed the way in which we view the UK”.
He commented: “We will build GSK’s first new UK factory for almost 40 years and we will make other substantial capital investments in our British manufacturing base. We are also actively considering other investments in our UK manufacturing network which would create further jobs and reinforce the UK’s international competitiveness and as a world leader in life sciences.”
The new state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Ulverston will begin construction within two or three years. It is expected to be completed before the end of the decade.
GSK may double its investment within the site to £700m and create further jobs in the long term, depending on “improvements in the environment for innovation in the UK”, it said.
The investment across its Scottish sites includes funding at Montrose to enable the manufacturing of key materials for GSK’s portfolio of respiratory medicines. At Irvine, it will increase production capacity for antibiotics.
It will also increase manufacturing capacity for its next-generation respiratory inhalation device at Ware, and establish a dermatology manufacturing centre of excellence at Barnard Castle.
Glyn Edwards, The BioIndustry Association’s Interim Chief Executive, said the investment “is a fantastic boost for the UK’s life sciences sector”. Stephen Whitehead, ABPI Chief Executive, said the commitment from GSK will reinforce the UK’s “image as a great place to companies to do business”.