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Influenza vaccine manufacturing facility supports public health
QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced
today that it is nearing completion of a two year, $199 million investment to
upgrade and expand its Quebec City influenza vaccine manufacturing facility.
As a result, GSK's Quebec City facility is now a key global influenza vaccine
manufacturing site, supporting public health strategies in Canada, the
United States and worldwide.
"Today's announcement reinforces the key role that both Quebec and Canada
play in GSK's global vaccine business," said Michel Baijot, Vice-President,
Worldwide Strategic Alliances & Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline
Biologicals, the company's vaccine division. "Through this investment, Quebec
and Canada will have an impact on global health by supporting countries in
their influenza pandemic planning."
The investment has enabled the Quebec City facility to increase
manufacturing capacity of seasonal influenza vaccine to 75 million doses
per year. The facility will also play a pivotal role in providing a secure
supply of pandemic vaccines to support the Canadian government's pandemic
"The company's investment in the Quebec City vaccine manufacturing
facility is part of an ongoing commitment to Quebec, contributing to the
province's growing position as a hub for the biopharmaceutical industry," said
Paul Lucas, President and CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Inc. "With increased capacity
in Quebec City, GSK is able to fulfil contracts to supply seasonal and
pandemic flu vaccines to governments around the world including Canada."
The news was welcomed by federal and provincial government leaders.
Present at the announcement were the Honourable Jim Prentice, Federal Minister
of Industry, the Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health and
Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario,
Philippe Couillard, Minister of Health and Social Services and
Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region and Raymond Bachand,
Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade.
"We will continue to work with federal and provincial governments to
create an environment that will foster a robust and growing life-sciences
sector that is a source of jobs, research, investment and quality patient
care," added Mr. Lucas.
As well as increasing manufacturing capacity, the investment in the
Quebec City site involved extensive upgrades of the existing facilities as
well as the creation of additional space and the installation of innovative
new equipment. The site includes laboratories that exceed regulatory
requirements for safety and quality.
The company has also doubled the size of its vaccine workforce in
Quebec City since January 2006.
GSK already supplies approximately 75 per cent of the Canadian
government's seasonal flu vaccine purchases and will also provide Canada with
a pandemic vaccine in the event of an influenza pandemic.
In June 2007, GSK announced that its Laval, Quebec site was designated
North American administrative and research and development (R&D) headquarters
for the company's vaccine division.
GSK has a history of supporting pandemic preparedness around the world.
In June 2007, GSK announced its intent to donate 50 million doses of propriety
pre-pandemic influenza vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) in
support of its readiness initiative. The donation will help establish a much
needed stockpile of pre-pandemic vaccines that can be distributed to the
world's poorest countries at short notice by the WHO.
In 2006, GSK's candidate pre-pandemic split antigen H5N1 vaccine induced
a substantial level of cross-reactive immune response against a 'drifted'
strain of H5N1 virus in clinical trials conducted in Europe. In August 2007,
GSK began trials its proprietary H5N1 vaccine in North America.
About GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals
With global headquarters in Rixensart, Belgium, GSK's vaccines division
is a world leader in the development and manufacturing of vaccines. In
addition to the Laval facility, the vaccines division has four other
facilities in North America which are located in Quebec City, Quebec;
Hamilton, Montana; Columbia, Maryland; and Marietta, Pennsylvania. GSK Bio
employs more than 1,500 scientists, who are devoted to discovering new
vaccines and developing more cost-effective and convenient combination
products to prevent infections that cause serious medical problems worldwide.
GSK Bio is also developing innovative immunotherapy compounds to treat cancer
GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based
pharmaceutical and health-care companies - is committed to improving the
quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live
longer. In Canada, GlaxoSmithKline is among the top 15 investors in research
and development, contributing more than $176 million in 2006 alone. GSK is an
Imagine Caring Company, and is consistently recognized as one of the
50 Best Employers in Canada. For company information, please visit www.gsk.ca.
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For further information:
For further information: Marie-Christine Beauchemin, GlaxoSmithKline,
(514) 956-3121; Peter Schram, GlaxoSmithKline, (905) 819-3363; Kenneth
Inchausti, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, (267) 809-7552; To arrange an
interview: Roch Landriault, NATIONAL - Montréal, (514) 843-2345; Sylvie Patry,
NATIONAL - Québec, (418) 648-1233