U.K. competition heats up for new GSK plant

And they're off! Several U.K. local governments are vying for a new biomanufacturing plant and the hundreds of jobs that come with it. The proposed GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) facility is described as one that would "mark a departure from the traditional chemical manufacturing process widely used around the world today," says the North West Evening Mail.

Patent box savings--a U.K. reduction in the level of corporate tax applied to income from patents--are among the government incentives motivating GSK chief Andrew Witty's (photo) desire to locate the plant in its home country. Adding to the appeal is a reduction in corporation taxes by the U.K.

Existing GSK locations are at the starting line. Southernmost is Ulverston, part of the South Lakeland district and about 90 miles north of Liverpool. Ulverston has the advantage of having the South Lakeland community pulling for it. The District Council has confirmed "it will do all it can" to attract the drug giant, the story says.

One estimate of the benefit to the region is about $16.4 million every year. The district has so far put on the table for GSK's consideration a development order to guarantee planning permission for a new plant on the existing site. It will also waive planning fees that could reach $150,000.

The Ulverston site is competing against the pharma giant's other plants at Barnard Castle, Durham, and Montrose and Irvine in Scotland.

Barnard Castle, east of Ulverston, is one of GSK's biggest plants, employing more than 1,000 people, according to the Teesdale Mercury. The plant is currently enjoying a $41 million expansion to double its capacity for creams and ointments, following GSK's acquisition of Stiefel. Barnard's attraction is that its expansion is already helping boost company profits.

Parliament member Helen Goodman is leading the charge for Barnard Castle, which sits in her region. She assembled a high-caliber group to gather evidence of the strengths of the existing plant, including location, track record, skills, housing and labor market.

- here's the Ulverston story
- see the Barnard Castle article