GlaxoSmithKline has acquired a manufacturing facility in the USA from Wyeth, which the firm says “will be used to help develop the next generation of vaccines,” particularly in the influenza field.

GSK has paid an undisclosed sum for the facility, which is located in Marietta, Pennsylvania and has been closed since the end of last year. The 90-acre site will now be used for the secondary production of several new vaccines for distribution in the US market, following approval by the US Food and Drug Administration and the new owners added that the facility has freeze-drying capabilities that will be used to enhance the shelf life and stability of a number of its products.

In particular, GSK chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier said the company expects to develop new flu vaccine technology at the Marietta facility, which “we hope will enhance our future ability to rapidly produce flu vaccines for the nation in response to a pandemic.” Once a new flu vaccine based on tissue culture is successfully developed, the company plans to make further investments at the plant and employ some 270 people there.

GSK has boosted its presence in the vaccines field recently with the acquisition of its long-term US vaccines partner Corixa Corp for $300 million [[03/05/05c]] and it is also doubling capacity at its Dresden, Germany flu manufacturing facility. The company has also just won FDA approval to market its flu vaccine Fluarix, in time for the 2005-2006 flu season [[01/09/05b]].