In a press release from its U.S. office in Philadelphia, PA, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced recently “$100 million of new investment in its manufacturing site in Hamilton, Montana to expand the production capacity of key components of the adjuvant system used in several of GSK’s vaccines, including SHINGRIX, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2107.”
The release also stated that GSK has been innovating in adjuvant systems for more than 20 years and has developed vaccines to help prevent malaria and shingles that utilize adjuvant systems to help achieve a stronger immune response. The Hamilton vaccines facility currently manufactures components of GSK’s essential adjuvant technologies, which this investment will expand further.
“For more than a decade, our Hamilton facility has supported GSK’s adjuvant system development program,” Jack Bailey, President, US Pharmaceuticals, GSK, is quoted as saying. “By expanding the adjuvant system production capabilities in Hamilton, we will continue to deliver long-term and sustainable supply for key vaccines, including SHINGRIX.”
The release goes on to state that GSK is dedicated to investing in and supporting communities by creating high-quality jobs in areas like R&D and manufacturing and, over the next few years, the Hamilton site expansion is expected to add a combination of temporary construction and contracting jobs, as well as new permanent positions, including scientists, engineers and manufacturing and quality professionals.
“Thanks to the bi-partisan support of Governor Steve Bullock and the congressional delegation – Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte – Montana is emerging as a hub for the biotechnology industry,” said Bailey. “GSK is grateful for their leadership and the opportunity they have given us to create new jobs and expand our footprint in the state.”
Hamilton is one of nine GSK manufacturing sites in the United States, and 86 sites globally, that produce a variety of prescription medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products.
Neither the U.S. contacts in Philadelphia listed in the press release nor the local site director or media coordinator in Hamilton returned telephone calls from the Bitterroot Star for more information.
In an article published on April 24, 2019 on FiercePharma (www.fiercepharma.com), an online pharmaceutical industry news site, Eric Sagonowsky reported that GlaxoSmithKline’s new shingles vaccine was performing so well on the market that the company ran into supply problems and even had to delay some advertising and implement order limits on some vaccines.
An article written by Angus Lui on May 24, 2019, also published on FiercePharma, reports that GSK’s Shingrix vaccine was recently given conditional approval for use in China. According to the article, drug regulators in China have put the vaccine on its list of high-priority new products.
This is a strong incentive for GSK to ramp up its production efforts.
A former employee at the GSK facility in Hamilton told the Bitterroot Star that the decision to do the expansion was made at the end of last year. The concrete foundations for the building have been poured and the construction is ongoing. He said that the local facility was producing one of the adjuvants it uses in various vaccines on site while contracting out the production of another one that it uses in vaccines like Shingrix. He said it was his belief that the Hamilton facility was going to become the central site for production of the second adjuvant used by the company. He said the facility currently employs about 200 people and that the increase in employment due to the expansion was being estimated at approximately 40 to 50 new employees.