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GSK acquires vaccines research and manufacturing facility

Published on 08/09/05 at 10:44am

GlaxoSmithKline has acquired a vaccines R&D and manufacturing facility in the US, which it will use to develop its next generation of vaccines.

The purchase of the Pennsylvania-based facility from Wyeth is the latest move by GSK to strengthen its position in the vaccines market which it believes is integral to its future growth and earnings.

In the next five years, GSK expects to launch five major vaccines:  Rotarix, its vaccine for rotavirus; cancer vaccine Cervarix; a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease; an improved flu vaccine for the elderly; and a meningitis combination vaccine for infants.

GSK said production at the 90-acre site will focus on the production of these candidates for the US market.

The facility, which is expected to house around 270 people, will also focus on the development and production of tissue culture technology that will be used for seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines.

"We expect to develop new flu vaccine technology at our Marietta facility that we hope will enhance our future ability to rapidly produce flu vaccines for the nation in response to a pandemic," commented GSK's chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier.

GSK has recently made several steps to enhance its vaccines business, including receiving fast-tack approval in the US for flu vaccine Fluarix for immunising adults. GSK said it would supply around eight million doses of Fluarix to the US market this flu season.

The acquisition follows the purchase of Corixa Corporation, a US biotech that manufactures a key component in many of the candidates in GSK's vaccine pipeline.

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