GSK consolidates DT and TT vaccine production in Hungary plant, adding 100 jobs

With GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines sales expanding, it figures it needs expanded production as well and some of that will happen at a 10-year-old plant in Hungary as well as Germany.

GlaxoSmithKline said on Monday that it would invest £40 million (about $61.5 million) to expand its Gödöllö facility in Hungary and add about 100 jobs.

Angela Hill, GSK director of external communications for vaccines, said in an email the outlay is for the transfer of production of diphtheria toxoid (DT) and tetanus toxoid (TT) from GSK's Marburg production site in Germany to its Gödöllö facility in Hungary. 

Work on the project is expected to begin in August with manufacturing anticipated in 2023, assuming regulatory approvals. It includes expanding production and adding a new media preparation building at the site. She said Marburg will continue production of GSK's Infanrix and Synflorix vaccines until successful production can be established in Gödöllö to ensure a constant supply. 

Hungary's government will kick in a HUF 1.8 billion ($6.1 million) grant to help fund the project, according to a report in the Budapest Business Journal, citing Hungarian news agency MTI news. It said the expansion will allow GSK to triple production of those vaccines at the site. 

Hill said the decision to consolidate the work in Hungary comes after last year's announcement to invest €162 million in the Marburg site for the construction of an antigen production plant for meningococcal B vaccine Bexsero as well as €10 million to install a new mumps vaccine production line to ramp up for the growing demand. 

That included €162 million invested in antigen production for GSK's meningitis B vaccine. That allows the company to bring all aspects of the production of its meningitis B vaccine in-house, so that it can more reliably supply the vaccine worldwide.

It also is investing €10 million to install a new mumps vaccine production line, key to its measles, mumps, rubella, varicella  (MMRV) vaccine. The expansion of the mumps line, along with current production activity in Belgium, will help GSK keep up with growing demand for that vaccine.

SK actually ran into a global shortage of Bexsero last year that it said stemmed from “unexpected global demand” for the product. After U.K.-based GSK merged most of Novartis’ vaccines unit into its own after an asset swap in 2015, it was able to strike a deal with its government to provide the vaccine to British infants at two months, four months and 12 to 13 months. But thousands of parents whose children missed the boat on the vaccination program started trying to get the shot through private clinics, swamping supply.

Still, sales of Bexsero, which hit £390 million last year, were a boost to the company’s overall vaccine sales in 2016, which rose to $5.73 billion, up 14%. Vaccines outperformed its pharma growth rate of 3% and consumer health’s increase of 9% on the year.

Editor's Note: The story was updated to include comments and details from GSK.