GSK has opened a new £90million smart manufacturing facility at its Barnard Castle site in County Durham.

The new facility, which will be known as 'Q Block', will allow Barnard Castle to strengthen its important global role in bringing new innovative medicines for a range of diseases into production.

The centre is a fully automated, paperless, digital facility that uses the latest technology to make manufacturing operations as efficient as possible. The investment means GSK will be able to launch innovative products at speed whilst reducing waste. 

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The construction of the Q Block facility was completed in 2020 and since then has been undergoing final trial work prior to today’s official launch. The facility will start manufacturing medicines for commercial use during the first half of next year, supporting key existing and new biopharmaceutical assets in GSK’s portfolio and pipeline. 

The new facility was constructed according to strict sustainability criteria, in line with GSK’s sustainability targets – to be net zero and nature positive by 2030. 

The Northern Echo: GSK at Barnard CastleGSK at Barnard Castle

Elizabeth Rowbotham, GSK Barnard Castle, Site Director said: “Barnard Castle is a key site for GSK, and at the heart of the future strategy for the company delivering important existing and new medicines globally.

“The Q Block facility puts GSK and Barnard Castle at the forefront of medicines manufacture and I am delighted the site will play such an important role supporting the delivery of our innovative pipeline. 

This investment demonstrates GSK’s commitment to the local area and I look forward to continuing to build a skilled team of people from across a mix of disciplines. What we do together here makes a difference to patients every day and I am honoured to work alongside such a committed team.”

Barnard Castle is one of GSK’s largest manufacturing sites in the UK, employing around 1,000 people and supplying nearly half a million packs of products per day to 140 global markets. The site was founded in 1945 and is one of the largest local employers. 

The Northern Echo: The entrance to Q BlockThe entrance to Q Block

GSK Barnard Castle manufactures a diverse range of products, including some of GSK’s most innovative medicines for HIV, respiratory disease and auto-immune diseases. 

Regis Simard, President of the GSK Global Supply Chain said: “I am delighted to join our teams in officially opening our smart manufacturing facility at our Barnard Castle site. This is a highly advanced technical achievement and by successfully applying digital technology we will be able to launch more transformational medicines at speed for patients, by developing a 'right first time' capability, whilst also reducing waste.

“This investment further demonstrates how we are building our capacity and capability in our supply chain to be even more ambitious for patients. Thank you to all who have worked tirelessly to design, construct and test this impressive new facility.”