GSK injects $100 in Montana plant to support Shingrix vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline will expand its adjuvant system production capacity at a site in Hamilton, Montana to help feed the high demand for shingles vaccine Shingrix.

The $100 million (€90 million) investment at the Hamilton plant will be used to expand the production capacity of key components of the adjuvant system used in several of GSK’s vaccines.

“The project involves construction of facilities required to increase adjuvant production, which is a component of some of our vaccines, like Shingrix,” GSK spokesperson Sean Clements told Bioprocess Insider.

GSK’s site in Hamilton. Montana. Image: GoogleStreetview

“The expansion is part of the long-range plan to supply a growing and sustainable for adjuvants for vaccines.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted), a non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine, for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster) in October 2017. In 2018, its first full year on the market, the vaccine brought in £784 million ($1 billion) in global sales for GSK.

But sales have been stilted as GSK’s current manufacturing capabilities have not been able to cope with the high demand for the vaccine, leading to a shortage of the vaccine.

The Montana investment is one of several actions GSK is doing to alleviate the shortage, Clements said.

“We have additional initiatives that are also being implemented to improve Shingrix supply currently. In January an additional, existing facility in France was approved by the FDA to produce Shingrix.”

And according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “due to high levels of demand for GSK’s Shingrix vaccine, GSK has implemented order limits and providers have experienced shipping delays. It is anticipated order limits and shipping delays will continue throughout 2019.”

The CDC’s note – updated last November, added: “In response, GSK increased the US supply available for 2018 and plans to make even more doses available in the US in 2019. Additionally, GSK will continue to release doses to all customer types on a consistent and predictable schedule during 2019.”

Approximately 200 employees work at the site in Montana, but GSK is not disclosing how many additional jobs the investment will bring.

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