GSK moves forward in Bangalore with new Indian plant

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty

When GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) CEO Andrew Witty said a couple of years ago that the U.K. company would build a new plant in India, its exact location was not set. Now GSK confirms it has chosen Bangalore for its sixth production facility in the country.

The state of Karnataka has approved a 50-acre tract in the Vemgal Industrial Area in Kolar district for the project, the Financial Express reported. The £85 million ($132.6 million) plant and warehouse, which is slated to be complete in 2017, is being built in anticipation of growth in sales for areas like gastroenterology and anti-inflammatory medicines. At full capacity, it will be able to crank out 8 billion tablets and 1 billion capsules a year.

When Witty announced the project, he said among the technologies it would rely on in the new facility would be continuous processing, a technology that moves away from batch production, requiring smaller facilities with lower operating expenses.

GSK has been a leader in searching for sustainable manufacturing techniques. Last year, it invested in biocatalysis technology from California-based Codexis. Mark Buswell, head of advanced manufacturing technologies at GSK, said at the time that the process of customizing enzymes would provide it a "more elegant way to do the chemical process to make active pharmaceutical ingredients."

The U.K. company, which says it is a leader in vaccines and consumer health products in the country, already has three plants in Nabha, Sonepat, and Rajahmundry that serve its Consumer Healthcare operation, and two in Nashik, one that makes pharmaceuticals and another that packages vaccines. GSK says it has invested more than £100 million ($156 million) in its facilities over the last decade.

- here's the Financial Express story