GSK opens new global vaccines R&D centre in US

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has opened its new global vaccines research and development (R&D) centre in Rockville, Maryland, as part of plans to expand its vaccines presence in the US.

The company will invest more than $50m in the next two years to continue to develop the site with new scientific research technology and equipment.

The centre is expected to create up to 200 new jobs.

GSK Vaccines president Luc Debruyne said: “Our investment here signifies our commitment to discovering and developing new vaccines across a range of pressing public health priorities, including those important here in the US. 

“It places GSK at the heart of a dynamic and cutting edge bioscience hub in Washington, DC.”

The Rockville facility will house a total of 12 critical vaccine development programmes, which include projects that support its candidate shingles vaccine filed for approval with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October this year.

"It places GSK at the heart of a dynamic and cutting edge bioscience hub in Washington, DC."

This site will also have R&D programmes for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Group B Streptococcus (GBS).

GSK’s proposed biopreparedness organisation (BPO) using a ‘no profit / no loss’ model that will design and develop new vaccines against emerging viruses, bacteria and other pathogens will also be located at the Rockville site.

The company acquired the Rockville site in 2012 from Human Genome Sciences.

In a separate announcement, GSK said it has submitted a regulatory application to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) for belimumab, a human monoclonal antibody in adult patients with active, auto-antibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Belimumab selectively targets B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), an important factor in the survival of B-cells.

At present, the intravenous injection 10mg/kg is licensed for use in the US, EU and around 50 additional countries worldwide.