1,000 New Jobs as GSK Invests £500m in UK

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are constructing their first new manufacturing facility in the UK for nearly forty years, in Ulverston, Cumbria, as part of an investment of over £500 million to increase production of active ingredients.

GSK currently hires 15,000 people in the UK with almost 6,000 working in manufacturing.

The drugs giant announced today that succeeding an extensive feasibility study, Ulverston was selected for the new state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical plant and approximately £350 million has been allocated for its construction.

GSK added that they may decide to double the investment at Ulverston to £700 million, “depending on continued improvements in the environment for innovation in the UK.”

Detailed planning and the design of the new building will now start, with an estimated start date for construction of 2014/15.  It is expected to take at minimum of six years before the new plant is completely operational; the Ulverston site presently employs about 240 people and manufactures key ingredients for antibiotics.

The firm is also investing in excess of £100 million across their two manufacturing sites in Montrose and Irvine, Scotland, and an additional £80 million at their sites in Ware, Hertfordshire, to increase manufacturing capacity for its next-generation respiratory inhalation device, and at Barnard Castle, to create a dermatology manufacturing centre of excellence.

The extra funding for the company’s two sites in Scotland includes the production at Montrose of the key materials for GlaxoSmithKline’s portfolio of respiratory medicines.  It will also be the first of GlaxoSmithKline’s UK sites to take part in the company’s vaccine manufacturing supply chain.  At Irvine, GlaxoSmithKline will also grow production capacity for antibiotics, as it looks to keep up with increasing demand in emerging markets.

In total, the new investments will produce up to 1,000 new jobs over the lifetime of the projects “and will also benefit the wider construction industry and the many companies which supply GSK with services and facilities in the UK.”

‘Patent Box’ Helped Close The Deal

GSK’s commitment to the UK follows confirmation in the Budget that the UK Government will introduce a “patent box” to encourage investment in research and development.  This will introduce a lower rate of corporation tax on profits created from UK-owned intellectual property.

Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, noted that the introduction of the patent box “has transformed the way in which we view the UK as a location for new investments, ensuring that the medicines of the future will not only be discovered, but can also continue to be made here in Britain.”

He added that the company is “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.”

Investment Is Excellent News

The announcement went down well with UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, who commented that “this is excellent news, a major investment that will create many highly skilled jobs and provide a great boost to the economy. It shows why we are right to cut business tax and focus on making the UK a dynamic and competitive place that can attract exactly this type of high tech investment.”

Mr Cameron added that the UK has “a world class life sciences industry, and I am determined not just to keep it here in the UK but significantly increase it too.”  However, he noted that “we cannot be complacent, the industry is changing, and we must change with it.”

Eddie Martin, leader of Cumbria County Council, pronounced that “this is fantastic news for Cumbria and I’m delighted that GSK have recognised not only the broad and specialised skill base we have here, but also that Cumbria is a fantastic place to live and do business.”

Peter Hornby, the county councillor for Ulverston East, where the new factory will be situated, commented that “the investment and jobs that GSK is bringing into Ulverston and Cumbria through the construction and on-going operation of this new plant will make it a linchpin of the local economy.”



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