GSK win council approval for multi-million pound production plant in Montrose

What the new GSK plant in Cobden Street may look like when completed in mid-2016.
What the new GSK plant in Cobden Street may look like when completed in mid-2016.

A new multi-million pound production plant at GlaxoSmithKline’s Montrose site is set to provide a “significant boost” to the town and the local economy.

On Tuesday, November 4, Angus Council approved plans for a new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing facility at GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Cobden Street plant.

The development standards committee were given details of the three-storey production plant, on a 900 square metres footprint, which will be built on a re-used brownfield site. It will have the capacity to produce 1,500kg of pharmaceutical ingredients every year and there were no objections submitted in respect of the plan.

With regard to the environmental impact of this development, GSK attached a statement to their bid, indicating there would be no significant air quality or traffic problems. They were backed up by Scottish Natural Heritage, who informed councillors: “There are sufficient controls in place to be confident there would be no significant effect on natural heritage designations close to the site.”

The new facility, to be built at a cost of £35 million and due to be operational by mid-2016, will produce the active ingredients for GSK’s next generation of respiratory medicines, such as Relvar, Anoro and Incruse. Estimates suggest it will contribute up to £1 million per year to the local economy.

GSK in Montrose currently employs nearly 400 people. The expansion will create around 25 new jobs across a range of areas and recruitment is expected to start towards the end of 2015.

Plans are in place to break ground on the new building later this month and a GSK spokesman said: “This is a very important development for the Montrose site. GSK is the world leader in respiratory medicine and here at Montrose we have been a cornerstone of that therapeutic area for over 40 years. This expansion enhances Montrose’s position in the GSK network, secures a number of vital new jobs and is a significant boost to the local economy.”

It is expected that the new facility will start to become visible from February 2015 when the steel structure will be erected. Councillor David May was delighted at the planning green light and the timetable for work to begin. He said it was good news for Montrose and Angus as a whole.

The Cobden Street site has been an important part of GSK’s respiratory medicine supply chain for over four decades and the plant started producing salbutamol sulphate, the active ingredient in Ventolin, in 1970, a process which continues to this day.

The site has also produced ingredients for a number of GSK’s asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) medicines such as Becotide, Serevent and Seretide.

Enough medicine is produced on a daily basis to treat more than 20 million people.