- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cut the ribbon on GlaxoSmithKline's £54 million (around $69 million) manufacturing facility in Montrose, Scotland on Oct. 22. This is the second facility that the company has opened on the same site in just over a year.
- The facility is one of two producing the active ingredients for all of the inhalers in the Ellipta portfolio; The other site is in Singapore.
- In its opening ceremony featuring Scotland's leader, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley touted her company's commitment to the country. "GSK has a substantial manufacturing presence in Scotland and we’re delighted to welcome the First Minister back to Montrose to mark the next phase of our investment in Angus, and in Scotland’s growing life sciences industry," Walmsley said.
In the second quarter of 2018, when the company's overall pharmaceutical sales were flat, sales of GlaxoSmithKline's Ellipta products, including Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate, umeclidinium, vilanterol), increased by 20%.
The company sees the franchise, which includes Trelegy, Anoro (umeclidinium, vilanterol), Incruse (umeclidinium), Breo/Relvar (fluticasone furoate, vilanterol) and Arnuity (fluticasone), all delivered using the Ellipta dry powder inhaler, as one of the key areas in its return to growth.
This makes ensuring a stable and consistent supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), particularly in GSK's core area of respiratory disease, essential.
"The state-of-the-art facility we are opening today… highlights the important part Montrose will play in our future growth, based around our latest medicines for respiratory, HIV and vaccines," Walmsley said.
It's not all growth at GlaxoSmithKline though.
In 2017, the sale of the Horlicks malted milk drink brand and outsourcing will lead to losses of around 320 jobs in the U.K.
In July, the company said their ongoing restructuring plan should save around $520 million by 2021. Cuts announced so far include the closure of a plant in Sligo, Ireland, by 2021 with the loss of 165 jobs, cutting 99 jobs in Memphis, Tennessee by April 2, 2019, and eliminating more than 1,000 jobs by shutting down a manufacturing plant.
And the cuts extend beyond manufacturing. An announcement last month declared that 650 jobs would go in an R&D revamp.
Amid concerns over British pharma AstraZeneca's manufacturing investment in light of Brexit, the news from GlaxoSmithKline may be greeted with a small sigh of relief by those concerned about the future of the U.K.'s pharma and biotech industry.
AstraZeneca president Leif Johansson said earlier this month the company had increased the stocks of its medicines at borders, and that it had frozen investments in U.K. manufacturing originally announced in 2017, according to an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.
"If a transition deal does not make clear what will happen in the future, we will maintain our decision not to invest," Johansson remarked.