GSK adds jobs at North Carolina plant, expecting new drugs to take off

While GlaxoSmithKline's new drugs Anoro and Breo have yet to take flight like the company had hoped, the drugmaker ($GSK) has been expanding the North Carolina plant where it makes them and other respiratory drugs, expecting that they will.  

The U.K. company has invested about $90 million in the plant in Zebulon, where those drugs and two other more recently approved respiratory meds, Incruse and Arnuity, are made, along with the Ellipta inhaler that dispenses them, the Triangle Business Journal reports. Those dollars have covered everything from plant expansion to equipment and some raw materials.

Glaxo newcomers Breo and Anoro were forecast to be blockbusters and help GSK replace some of the $8 billion a year that Advair produced before generic competition began to eat away at sales. Sales were down 19% in the second quarter for the asthma/COPD giant.

But Breo and Anoro sold only £10 million combined in Q2, much less than analysts were expecting. CFO Simon Dingemans told investors in July not to worry. "We've always expected that it would take time and investment to build them to their full potential," he said.

So the company continues to expand at Zebulon and is in the midst of hiring between 60 and 70 workers, adding to the 850 already working at the plant. "While we're not hiring thousands of people, we are hiring people," John Bolla, head of the plant, told the Business Journal.

- here's the Triangle Business Journal story