GlaxoSmithKline is sinking £200 million into the UK to support the delivery of new medicines and establish a centre for pharmaceutical manufacturing innovation.
The drug giant has this morning unveiled plans that will see manufacturing sites in Ware, Hertfordshire and Worthing, Sussex, upgraded with new state-of-the-art equipment, as well as the creation of a new facility "dedicated to harnessing innovative technologies with the potential to transform both the way medicines are made and the company’s supply chain".
The move signals a renewed confidence in the UK as a site for pharma investment.
"The establishment of the Patent Box has transformed how we see the UK as a place to invest," explained Roger Connor, GSK’s President of Global Manufacturing and Supply.
The investments will enable the firm to employ new technologies that could significantly cut costs, boost quality and enable the manufacture of medicines in weeks rather than years, "and I am delighted that we have been able to bring these investments to the UK," he added.
The technologies in question range from mimicking nature-using enzymes and biologically inspired catalysts, to using nano-technologies to create intelligent drug product formulations which curtail side-effects and enhance efficacy, GSK said, adding that the preferred site for the new manufacturing innovation centre is currently Ware, although this is not yet final.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the decision, noting that "it shows we are creating the right conditions for global investment, leading to job creation and growth, as well as maintaining the UK's place as a world leader in innovation".
The investment comes on the back of £500 million announced in March last year including a commitment to build a new factory in Ulverston, Cumbria, creating up to 1,000 jobs, as well as £25 million to expand its operations in Montrose.