A new £19m continuous manufacturing facility was announced today by healthcare company GSK, marking an important milestone in its long-standing partnership with Singapore’s Economic Development Board.
The investment will be GSK’s first in continuous manufacturing for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) across its global network and reinforces the company’s commitment to continuously look for ways to advance its manufacturing practices to get medicines to patients as quickly as possible.
The new facility will produce one of GSK’s key respiratory API’s, a therapy area where the company has an industry-leading position. By adopting continuous manufacturing, the company stands to benefit from quicker production of the API, while maintaining the same high quality standards.
Continuous manufacturing requires fewer manual interventions than existing batch production, whereby each stage of the production process is taken sequentially, with ‘hold times’ required at each.
The flexible nature of the production process means the volume of API produced can be adapted according to demand. There are also a number of environmental benefits from this technique, which will help to reduce the Jurong site’s carbon footprint by more than 50%.
Roger Connor, president of global manufacturing and supply, GSK, said: “Applying this technology will revolutionise the way API is manufactured. It will mean we are able to respond quickly to patient needs, whilst maintaining our high quality standards.
“The decision to invest in Jurong was straightforward; the site offers exceptional technical expertise and is recognition of the fantastic support we have had over the years, and continue to receive, from the Economic Development Board (EDB) and other Singaporean government institutions.”
Yeoh Keat Chuan, managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said: “The pharmaceutical sector is important for Singapore’s economic growth and competitiveness, contributing 17% of our manufacturing output in 2013.
“Through continued investments in technology and talent, we are committed to maintain Singapore as the best-in-class pharmaceutical manufacturing location globally.
“GSK’s decision to build a continuous processing facility, its first in the world, is aligned with Singapore’s vision and efforts in where we want to grow the industry.”
Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and become operational in the first quarter of 2016.