GSK invests $120m in flexible manufacturing facility

The newly-outfitted space uses emerging technologies in bioreactors that eliminate the need for complex retrofitting to simplify changing from manufacturing one medicine to another

Photo as seen on GSK website

GSK has committed US$120 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania that will support the delivery of the company's pipeline, bringing new medicines for cancer and other specialty diseases. Investment at Upper Merion creates a technologically-advanced manufacturing hub.

By bringing together the R&D and manufacturing teams in one facility the British multinational will create a highly skilled workforce with the technological and scientific capabilities, and the infrastructure to research potential new genetic targets and follow through to manufacture them into new medicines.

R&D and manufacturing using the same equipment, data, and analytics, is aiming to create efficiencies that will significantly reduce the overall time to produce a new medicine.

Built-in flexibility

The newly-outfitted manufacturing space is made to be more flexible than traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment.

Upper Merion uses emerging technologies in bioreactors, such as single-use and disposable components, which eliminates the need for complex retrofitting and sterilising that is typical in most manufacturing plants. This simplifies and accelerates the process of changing from manufacturing one medicine to another medicine.

A new analytical lab is also part of the facility, and the processes associated with quality and commercial testing have been streamlined to ensure medicines are ready for patient use as soon as possible.

Since 2017, GSK has invested close to $400 million dollars in US manufacturing capabilities across vaccine and speciality portfolios. GSK has two significant R&D and manufacturing sites in Pennsylvania: Upper Merion and Upper Providence, employing approximately 3,500 people. In addition, GSK has its US corporate headquarters at Philadelphia's Navy Yard that employs more than 1,000 people.

Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK said: "These investments will support and accelerate the transformation of our pipeline to deliver the next generation of medicines and vaccines for patients who need them. This also underscores GSK's longstanding commitment to making innovative medicines and vaccines here in the US."

The Upper Merion facility will initially be producing key pipeline assets. All products are currently in clinical trials and subject to clinical trial outcomes and regulatory approval.

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