GlaxoSmithKline unveils $139M U.S. plant for Benlysta production

GlaxoSmithKline invested about $139 million to retrofit a building at its site in Rockville, Maryland to meet growing demand for its lupus drug Benlysta. (GlaxoSmithKline)

GlaxoSmithKline manufacturing is definitely on a role. A week after christening a new manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, GSK has officially opened one in Maryland. 

The $139 million plant at its Rockville, Maryland site was built to add capacity for GSK’s lupus-fighter Benlysta, a drug that has been prescribed to 59,000 patients in the U.S. since its introduction in 2011. 

GSK chose to retrofit an existing building at the Maryland site, where it already had expertise in producing the injected or infused drug. The investment was used to pay for the demolition of existing suites and the engineering, installation and validation of new equipment. 


Simplify and Accelerate Drug R&D With the MarkLogic Data Hub Service for Pharma R&D

Researchers are often unable to access the information they need. And, even when data does get consolidated, researchers find it difficult to sift through it all and make sense of it in order to confidently draw the right conclusions and share the right results. Discover how to quickly and easily find, synthesize, and share information—accelerating and improving R&D.

RELATED: GSK invests $120M in biopharma plant as renewed oncology bets grow

Benlysta, the only biologic medicine specifically approved to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), has been among GSK’s top performers in recent years. Sales in 2018 were up 29% to £473 ($482.3 million). The drugmaker is also testing it with Rituxan against both systemic lupus erythematosus and against the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome. 

The unveiling of the Maryland plant comes just about a week after GSK officially opened a new $120M in biopharma plant at the drugmaker’s manufacturing site in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. That facility will be used primarily to produce the drugs now coming through the company’s pipeline, particularly oncology drug candidates.  

Elsewhere, GSK in July opened continuous manufacturing facilities in Singapore. The first new drug to be manufactured with the enzymatic process will be Daprodustat, a new oral treatment for anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

Suggested Articles

The efficacy between Keytruda and FerGene's nadofaragene firadenovec look comparable in their studies, though Merck has at least one upper hand.

Thursday, the FDA approved the first three generic versions of Gilenya, but they may not hit the market anytime soon due to ongoing litigation.

Gilead is hoping to score a patent extension on TAF meds, but patient advocates say that would reward conduct that harmed patients.