CDMO to build $490m MAb plant as GSK exits UK site

Lakes BioScience has received permission to begin building a £350 million biomanufacturing facility at a site in Ulverston, UK, currently owned by GSK.

Last week, South Lakeland District Council granted permission for Lakes Bioscience, a recently formed biomanufacturing firm, to build a new facility on GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) site located on North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston, Cumbria.

Lakes BioScience artist’s impression aerial. Image c/o 32West

Lakes BioScience director, Pat McIver told BioProcess Insider it is investing £350 million ($490 million) to build a new site which will produce monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).

McIver said the firm aims “to establish a contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) business.” While specific disease areas are yet to be divulged, they “will be dependent on what assets clients bring to the facility.”

GSK legacy

GSK has had a 70-year history at the Ulverston site. In 2014 it planned to construct a £350 million biologics facility. However, GSK shelved that plan in 2017 and recently pulled out of the site altogether, announcing Sandoz (a division of Novartis) has acquired its antibiotics business prompting the closure of Ulverston over the next four years.

According to McIver, the Lakes BioScience’s facility is “not a resurrection of GSK’s shelved plans.” However, “the fact that GSK made the development site available through a commitment to release the site to local authorities for economic development is a significant factor in our decision that this was a good place for the facility.”

The site is expected to create 250 jobs and McIver said the release of people from GSK by 2025 is an important factor in how the firm will develop and grow its workforce.

“Clearly there is a legacy left by GSK, we are confident that it is going to be a key part in what helps us to build our staff requirements,” said McIver.

The facility still has a second stage of planning to complete but McIver said it has a “construction approach that allows us to build and commission very quickly in the order of 15 to 18 months.” Though it is “too early to say when [building] will commence.”

One thought on “CDMO to build $490m MAb plant as GSK exits UK site

  1. Pingback: Fledgling CDMO Lakes BioScience blueprints $490M antibody factory at ex-GlaxoSmithKline site | Prescription Assistance Card

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