Sector News

GSK starts $175M plant to boost production of vaccine star Bexsero

March 22, 2017
Life sciences

Vaccines have been one of the financial bright spots for GlaxoSmithKline and Bexsero, which it picked up in its asset swap with Novartis, has had stellar sales. To boost both, GSK is building a $175 million plant in Germany so it can expand production of the meningococcal B shot.

The antigen production plant is being built in Marsburg, one of the sites GSK acquired when it traded some of its cancer operations to Novartis in exchange for most of the Swiss company’s vaccine operations. The company expects to start validation runs in the third quarter of 2020.

“With the construction of the meningococcal B plant, we are pleased to be moving production for three of the four active components of the meningococcal B vaccine to Marburg soon,” Jochen Reutter, manager of the 780,000 square-foot site, said in a statement.

To make room for the Bexsero expansion, GSK is transferring production of its diphtheria toxoid and tetanus toxoid from Marburg to its vaccine operation in Gödöllő, Hungary. It is adding a $61.5 million facility there to accommodate that work.

There were skeptics when GSK CEO Andrew Witty decided to trade off some older cancer drugs and concentrate on lower margin areas like vaccines and consumer products, but GSK has had success building on vaccines. The U.K. drugmaker recently reported that vax sales were up 14% in 2016 to about $5.73 billion, significantly outpacing growth in much larger pharma and consumer operations.

Bexsero has done particularly well, more than doubling sales in one year to about $486 million for 2016. In fact, GSK got caught off guard by its success last year, running into shortages for awhile.

A month after it got the vaccines from Novartis, it was able to end a yearlong pricing standoff Novartis had with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service to get it added to the country’s national immunization schedule for about 800,000 babies. But when parents of thousands of children missed the NHS program and showed up at private clinics to get their children vaccinated, shortages developed. GSK responded to the “unexpected global demand” and within a couple of months had boosted production of the shot.

By Eric Palmer

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

October 2, 2022

GSK names Julie Brown, a 25-year AstraZeneca veteran, its first woman CFO

Life sciences

Five years ago, GSK made headlines when it hired Emma Walmsley to become the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. Now the Big Pharma has brought in another woman to control the company’s finances. Julie Brown will be GSK’s next chief financial officer. Brown, currently the chief operating and financial officer at fashion and beauty brand Burberry Group, is set to replace Iain Mackay.

October 2, 2022

Moderna creates new launch preparation role, poaches Novartis exec as manufacturing lead

Life sciences

Moderna created a new role responsible for “building out the company’s organization to support its growing pipeline.” Starting first thing 2023, Juan Andres, Moderna’s manufacturing head, will step into this new role under the title president of strategic partnerships and enterprise expansion, the company said Thursday.

October 2, 2022

Torrent Pharma to acquire Curatio for $245.16m

Life sciences

The latest takeover is anticipated to boost the presence of Torrent in the dermatology segment. Indian company Torrent Pharmaceuticals has signed a definitive agreement for the complete acquisition of Curatio Healthcare for $245.16m (Rs20bn).