AN investment of more than £100m will create 100 new jobs across GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Scottish operations in Irvine and Montrose.
The pharmaceutical giant plans to provide new funding at its Angus and Ayrshire sites as part of a wider investment of £500m across the UK – a fillip for the wider packaging supply chain.
The Montrose facility, which has 250 employees, will be given the green light to manufacture key materials in GSK’s portfolio of respiratory medicines and to produce aluminium adjuvants, which are high-tech agents used in the manufacture of vaccines to help stimulate the body’s immune system.
At Irvine, where 330 are currently employed, it will increase production capacity for antibiotics, reflecting growing demand for these medicines in emerging markets. It has also set aside funds for sustainable green energy production and environmentally friendly manufacturing technologies at both sites.
First Minister Alex Salmond was amongst the first to welcome the announcement during a visit to meet staff at the company’s Irvine facility. He said the move demonstrated Scotland’s competitive business environment continues to secure new investment from leading global firms.
He said: “The key aspect for Montrose is the moving of vaccine production to Angus and for Irvine it will mean they become the centre of excellence for the production of the most widely used antibiotic in the world. Both plants will have considerable investment in renewable energy, which will help secure their future.
“The quality and skills of the local workforces in Montrose and Irvine have played an important part in the company’s decision to expand their operations. This new investment reinforces Scotland’s global reputation for research excellence and the competitiveness of our business environment. It also highlights Scotland’s international profile in life sciences.”
The company also announced the selection of Ulverston in Cumbria as the location for the first new GSK manufacturing facility to be built in the UK for almost 40 years. Four existing GSK sites across the UK – including Irvine and Montrose – were assessed as part of an extensive feasibility study conducted through 2011, before GSK chose Cumbria due to factors such as sterile processing skills, technical capability and existing links with local suppliers and academic partners.
GSK’s CEO Sir Andrew Witty said: “We are also actively considering other investments in our UK manufacturing network which would create further jobs and reinforce the UK’s international competitiveness and as a world leader in life sciences.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “GSK is a global leader in the pharmaceuticals industry and their expansion in Scotland is an endorsement of the world class skills and capabilities within our life sciences sector.”