GSK Plc will invest more than €250 million ($272 million) in a Belgian site for vaccines as the country builds on its position as a global health and biotech hub.
(Bloomberg) — GSK Plc will invest more than €250 million ($272 million) in a Belgian site for vaccines as the country builds on its position as a global health and biotech hub.
The drugmaker will build a new unit for freeze-drying vaccines in Wavre, the world’s largest vaccine production site.
The new center, southeast of Brussels, will become operational in 2027 and will house both non-living vaccines, such as Zona and RSV shots, and live inoculations against measles and varicella, GSK said. It will produce tens of millions of doses a year.
“The Covid pandemic has opened the world’s eyes to what we have here in Belgium,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at the site. “We see biopharma is becoming much more geostrategic than it used to be. We see other countries are looking with an interested eye at what is happening in Belgium, so we take measures to stay on top.”
Belgium which exported Covid vaccines throughout the world during the pandemic, is investing about €1.5 billion a year in biotech, according to Emmanuel Amory, head of GSK in Belgium. GSK itself invests between €300 million and €500 million in Belgium a year.
The freeze-drying technique aims to make vaccines more stable and extend their shelf life.
Rudy Rosolen, vice president for production at GSK Belgium, said the center’s innovative techniques will help increase reliability of supply, number of doses and their quality.
GSK’s commitment follows last year’s announcements from Pfizer Inc. on investing €1.2 billion in its Belgian branch in Puurs, and a €300 million plan from Takeda in Lessines.
Belgium has more than 140 biotech companies and startups.
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