GSK Opens New Vaccines R&D FacilityBy
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has opened a new global vaccines research and development (R&D) center in Rockville, Maryland and will be investing more than $50 million in the next two years to continue to develop the site. The new R&D center will create up to 200 new jobs and expands GSK’s vaccines presence in the US.
The facility will officially be opened by Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive officer GSK; Luc Debruyne, president of Global Vaccines, GSK; and Boyd Rutherford, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland at an event with 150 guests, including state and local officials, senior representatives of health institutions, academic partners and GSK employees.
Under the leadership of Dr Ripley Ballou, vice president and head of GSK’s global vaccines R&D center in Rockville, the facility will house a total of 12 vaccine development programs. This includes projects supporting its candidate shingles vaccine, which was filed for approval with the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2016. In addition, R&D programs for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a cause of respiratory infections in young children and the elderly, Group B Streptococcus, a bacterial infection affecting newborns, and dengue fever will be based at the site. Rockville becomes one of three global vaccines R&D centers for GSK. The company’s other existing global R&D centers are in Rixensart, Belgium and Siena, Italy.
Rockville is also the location of GSK’s proposed biopreparedness organization, a dedicated, permanent organization using a “no profit/no loss” model that will design and develop new vaccines against emerging viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
The Rockville site, which was acquired by GSK in 2012 from Human Genome Sciences, offers proximity to current research partners, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and PATH, a nonprofit organization that accelerates innovation across five platforms: vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and services, as well as public health stakeholders. Since 2015, GSK has been preparing the site, transferring key staff and projects, installing equipment and modernizing the site ahead of its official opening.
GSK’s vaccines business has a broad portfolio with 39 pediatric, adolescent, adult, and traveller vaccines against 21 different diseases including hepatitis, meningitis, influenza, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus. GSK has 15 candidate vaccines in development against diseases including shingles, RSV, Group B Strep, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbations.