- GlaxoSmithKline will spend $120 million to expand a biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania, the latest investment made by the British pharma to support a push further into cancer and specialty drugs.
- The plant, which is located near Philadelphia, will initially focus on making "key pipeline assets" in GSK's drug pipeline, the drugmaker said in a Sept. 25 announcement. Although it did not name any specific experimental products, GSK has prioritized drugs in immunology and oncology.
- GSK has had a presence in Upper Merion since 1996, and the site's previously produced medicines like the pharma's asthma drug Nucala.
Like many drugmakers, GSK has sought to make its manufacturing operations faster and more efficient, particularly when it comes to the specialty and biologic drugs that make up much of its pipeline.
All told, the company has invested about $400 million in U.S. manufacturing since 2017, inclusive of this most recent cash infusion. In April, the drugmaker announced plans to spend $100 million to expand a vaccine production site in Montana.
That investment came amid ongoing shortages of GSK's quick-selling shingles vaccine Shingrix, which has rapidly become a major product for the company.
In Upper Merion, GSK said it would bring together its manufacturing and R&D teams so they can share equipment and, hopefully, reduce the time to produce a new medicine in the process.
The company will rely on single-use and disposable components at the site, allowing for production of multiple medicines with less need for retrofitting and sterilizing. The site will include a new analytical lab as well.
All of the products that will be manufactured at the site first are in clinical trials, GSK said. The company's pipeline includes a range of vaccines and treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory diseases.
Upper Merion was once a large R&D site for GSK, which sold and then leased back part of the site to a developer that's now working to build a WeWork-styled life sciences hub there. Between Upper Merion and another GSK site in Upper Providence, Pennsylvania, GSK employs about 3,500 people.