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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has expanded its respiratory medicines production capacity with the opening of a new £56m manufacturing facility in Ware, UK.

More than £100m was invested in the new facility over the past five years, which has been built to cater to the demand of GSK’s respiratory medicines delivered by Ellipta inhaler.

The Ellipta inhaler is a multi-dose dry powder inhaler (DPI) developed to deliver GSK’s once-daily respiratory medicines.

GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty said: "This new facility demonstrates our commitment to manufacturing in the UK, which continues to be a very positive environment for life sciences investment.

"We currently export Ellipta inhalers from Ware to more than 74 countries and the new facility opened today will increase capacity to meet growing demand for our new portfolio of respiratory medicines worldwide."

The 4500m² facility is expected to nearly double production of Ellipta inhalers in the region to at least 37 million per year by 2017, of which 95% will be exported.

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said: "This £56m investment by GSK is fantastic news for Ware and the UK’s thriving life sciences industry.

"This £56m investment by GSK is fantastic news for Ware and the UK’s thriving life sciences industry."

"As well as driving growth and creating 150 new jobs, this expansion of GSK’s medicines manufacturing facility in Ware is a strong endorsement of the UK’s leadership in manufacturing and respiratory medicine."

Since 2013, more than 400 additional roles will have been created at the manufacturing site in Ware, bringing staff numbers to more than 1200, the company said.

In a separate development, GSK has begun a Phase II study to evaluate an anti GM-CSF antibody for inflammatory hand osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes damage to the surface of joints in the body, leading to joint pain and stiffness.

Image: GSK’s head office in Brentford, London. Photo: courtesy of Ian Wilson.