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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Site director welcomes good news for team

GREIG Rooney may only have taken charge at Glaxo’s Ulverston site last November but he has witnessed a massive change to the workforce following the announcement in March to build a £350m biopharmaceutical facility at the plant.

“The site had been going through a period of downsizing for the last 10 years,” Greig explains. “This announcement has put to bed any rumours that this site was going to close.

“Most of the workforce in Ulverston have been at the site for many years and they have a strong desire to leave a legacy for the future, this announcement means the existing workforce can now see a path and they have the opportunity to leave that legacy for the next 40 or 50 years.

“The news has lifted that uncertainty and the whole place is buzzing.”

And it is not just the workers who have welcomed the news, as Greig explains.

“The response from the community has been absolutely fantastic. No matter where I go – into the town centre, into an Indian restaurant... people stop me and talk about it. The whole area has responded so positively, this isn’t just good news for GSK, it’s good news for the town, the shops, the people, the schools and other businesses.”

While the new biopharm facility has dominated the headlines, Greig also revealed plans to reinvest in the site’s core business – cephalosporin antibiotics.

“The message for the existing facility, and staff, is that we want to continue to grow that business and reinvest. We are seeing some strong growth,” he says.

“Over the next five or six years we will see a number of projects to modernise and make the site look different. With this, and the biopharm, we are securing the future for Ulverston, building on the legacy that’s been created here over the last 65 years.”

Greig was also able to detail why Ulverston was picked for the investment.

“The key differentiating decision criteria included whether the site has primary, active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing expertise and capability, signified by large volume, highly-automated batch manufacture and also sterile/aseptic manufacturing capability due to the specific requirement to keep biopharm drug substance manufacture sterile for long periods of time. These requirements are key strengths which differentiate the GSK Ulverston site.

“The site also benefits from its proximity to the vibrant bio-cluster in the North West of England and Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester universities.”

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