GSK targets Indian plant for $73M in upgrades

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is upping its presence in India again, saying this week that it'll spend INR500 million ($73 million) on a plant upgrade in Nashik to expand its thyroid and dermatology offerings.

The news comes from A. Vaideesh, managing director of GSK's India unit, who told media about the upgrades during a Make in India event designed to boost domestic manufacturing, the Business Standard reported. It builds on the company's commitment last fall to construct an estimated $153 million plant in Bangalore which Vaideesh said this week should be completed by the end of 2017.

The Bangalore plant, Vaideesh said, will have a capacity "for eight billion tablets and a billion capsules annually," the Business Standard reported. At the time of that announcement, GSK CEO Andrew Witty said the new facility will use continuous manufacturing processes designed to reduce operating expenses and waste.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty

GSK now has 6 facilities in India, and Witty confirmed the company's commitment there this month in an interview with the Economic Times. He said GSK sees "India as a home," the newspaper reported, adding that about one-third of the company's pharmaceutical products are sold there. "India is actually our most important market by volumes," Witty told the Economic Times.

Along with one additional plant in Nashik, GSK's other Indian facilities are located in Nabha, Sonepat and Rajahmundry. The upgrades announced this week will bring the British pharma's investment in India over the past decade to more than $200 million. In speaking with the Business Standard, Vaideesh pegged anti-infective drugs, gastrointestinal products and vaccines as growth areas in the country while saying the company is also focusing on respiratory meds and dermatology products.

- here's the Business Standard story
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