Glaxo to use new technology in India plant

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) will "proactively" build a new plant in India as it bets on growing business there to propel earnings growth. The plant will be another facility in which it uses continuous processing and adds to the £100 million the company has invested in manufacturing capacity in India in the last decade.

The company said last week that it will build an £85 million ($136.5 million) plant there. CEO Andrew Witty made the announcement himself while in the country for a conference. A site has yet to be picked for the new facility, but according to The Economic Times, Witty said Bangalore seems the likely location.

The plant and warehouse are expected to be completed by 2017 and will employ about 250 people. It will be large enough to produce up to 8 billion tablets and 1 billion capsules a year. The company said among the technologies it will rely on in the new facility will be continuous processing, a new technology that moves away from batch production, requiring smaller facilities with lower operating expenses.

GSK has been one of the companies out in front with the new technology. In February, it announced its first plant to use the continuous processing, a $50 million facility it is building in Singapore. Witty told analysts the plant signified a "significant technology leap for the company" and would mean a "shift away from synthetic chemical reaction to enzymatic reactions." He said it would cut processing times and the inventory that must be kept on hand while also reducing solvent use. He said it would result in a 50% reduction in cost and a 50% reduction in carbon footprint. He went on to explain that between a third and a half of the company's current portfolio of drugs could be made using continuous processing.

- read the release
- read the Economic Times story

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