GSK boosts vaccine production with €250M facility for shingles, RSV and malaria shots

GSK, RSV vaccine, shingrix, vaccine manufacturing, Malaria vaccine

As GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) continues to expand its vaccine portfolio with the introduction of the new respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, Arexvy, the company is committing significant investment to bolster its manufacturing capabilities.

The British pharmaceutical giant is earmarking over 250 million euros (approximately $273 million) for the construction of a state-of-the-art facility at its Wavre campus in Belgium, according to a company spokesperson.

Anticipated to be fully operational by 2027, this facility will specialize in the production of freeze-dried vaccines, a category that includes GSK’s recently launched RSV vaccine, Arexvy. Additionally, GSK’s rapidly growing shingles vaccine, Shingrix, and its malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, will also be manufactured at this center, as confirmed by the company’s spokesperson.

This new manufacturing hub is strategically designed to enhance production efficiency while simultaneously minimizing its environmental footprint. “The ambition is to have tens of millions of doses lyophilized each year,” added the spokesperson.

GSK has high expectations for Arexvy, viewing it as a key contributor to its growth strategy. This vaccine is set to compete with Pfizer’s Abrysvo in the older adult population, starting from the current RSV season.

Luke Miels, GSK’s Chief Commercial Officer, underscored the importance of Arexvy’s growth trajectory during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February. While Arexvy may not match the rapid ascent of Shingrix, GSK intends to pursue a similar launch strategy, focusing on “maintaining price discipline, expanding into Europe, and the rest of the world over the next few years,” as stated by Miels.

Related: GSK’s Arexvy And Moderna’s MRNA-1345 To Lead The Race For RSV Prevention

GSK had previously encountered production challenges with Shingrix, leading to delays in the vaccine’s launch in China due to supply constraints. However, these issues seem to have been resolved. After a pandemic-induced slowdown, Shingrix witnessed a remarkable 60% increase in sales at constant currencies, reaching 3 billion pounds sterling in 2022. Recent demand for the vaccine outside the US more than compensated for some unfavorable inventory movements within the US, resulting in a 16% sales growth to 1.7 billion pounds in the first half of 2023.

Belgium has emerged as a prominent vaccine manufacturing hub, with the addition of GSK’s new facility in Wavre. GSK already operates two other vaccine sites in Rixensart and Gembloux within Belgium. Additionally, a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium, garnered attention during the pandemic for its production of the BioNTech-partnered COVID vaccine, Comirnaty.

Related: Pfizer’s Abrysvo Achieves Landmark As First Maternal RSV Vaccine To Safeguard Newborns

Beyond Belgium, GSK has also made substantial investments in vaccine production in Singapore. Last month, GSK initiated construction on a $254 million drug substance facility at its Tuas site, dedicated to manufacturing the hepatitis B vaccine, Engerix-B. This cutting-edge facility is set to commence commercial production in 2027.

Share This News