Drug giant’s £350m shot in the arm for Cumbria

X The Business Desk

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THE Cumbrian economy was celebrating today after drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline revealed plans to open a  £350m factory in Ulverston.

GSK, the maker of Lucozade and a number of top-selling medical and lifestyle products, said the Ulverston investment was the largest component of a £500m commitment to UK manufacturing, which will create more than 1,000 jobs in coming years.

The global company, which already employs around 240 in Ulverston, said the new factory will be the first new GSK manufacturing facility to be built in the UK for almost 40 years. It is likely to taker up to six years to build.

GSK’s chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said: “The introduction of the patent box has transformed the way in which we view the UK as a location for new investments, ensuring that the medicines of the future will not only be discovered, but can also continue to be made here in Britain.”
Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the investment as “excellent news”.

He added: “It shows why we are right to cut business tax and focus on making the UK a dynamic and competitive place that can attract exactly this type of high tech investment.

“We have a world class life sciences industry, and I am determined not just to keep it here in the UK but significantly increase it too.  We cannot be complacent, the industry is changing, and we must change with it.”

GSK said Ulverston was selected after an extensive feasibility study conducted through 2011, Four existing GSK sites across the UK were assessed – Barnard Castle and Ulverston, Irvine and Montrose in Scotland – with examination of factors such as sterile processing skills, technical capability and existing links with local suppliers and academic partners.
Detailed planning and design of the new facility will now begin, with an anticipated start date for construction of 2014/15 dependent on portfolio timing and obtaining necessary planning and related consents.  Once construction starts, it is likely to take at least six years before the plant is fully operational.  

Council leader Cllr Eddie Martin hailed the investment by GSK as the “best news Cumbria’s economy has had in recent memory.”

GSK’s Ulverston site currently manufactures key ingredients for antibiotics