GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said today it will expand its Boronia manufacturing site in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, by introducing A$31 million (about $27 million) in new technology designed to meet growing demand in emerging markets.
Specifically, the plant will see a new high-speed blow-fill-seal machine dedicated for the manufacturing of Ventolin (salbutamol sulfate) nebules, or doses inhaled through a nebulizer. The new machine will increase the plant’s manufacturing capacity by 100 million nebules annually, the Herald Sun of Melbourne reported today.
GSK said the new equipment will allow the Boronia plant to better serve patients seeking low-cost, accessible asthma treatments in emerging markets–especially China, Turkey, and Brazil.
The new machine is expected to become operational in January 2016.
Blow-Fill-Seal manufacturing, intended for advanced aseptic packing of sterile pharmaceutical liquids, has been a specialty of the Boronia site for 25 years, during which it has served developed as well as emerging markets. Opened in 1970, Boronia is GSK’s largest site worldwide for the production of sterile and non-sterile liquid products.
GSK said the new machine at Boronia is part of a series of sizeable investments the pharma giant has made in recent years, with the intent of strengthening its manufacturing capabilities in Australia and the UK.
In recent years, GSK installed new equipment across a number of UK sites, and established two new U.K.-based facilities specifically focused on developing innovative technologies and supporting the company’s pipeline.
GSK also spent A$60 million ($52 million) in 2012 to double the capacity of the Boronia site through new Blow-Fill-Seal machinery, a project that was planned to create 58 new jobs by 2017. Last year, the company said it would axe 120 Boronia workers in tablet packaging positions of the plant’s total workforce of 363, as part of a companywide global restructuring that will shift tablet manufacturing to Europe by 2017.