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GSK invests €250 million in new vaccines manufacturing unit in Belgium

GSK is building a new vaccine freeze-drying unit on its campus in Wavre, Belgium, the world's largest vaccine production site. This investment of more than €250 million will enable GSK to continue to play a major role in the production of innovative vaccines such as shingles and respiratory syncytial virus. This cutting-edge manufacturing unit will be operational by 2027.

Freeze-drying is a preservation technique that involves removing water from the vaccine to make it more stable and extend its shelf life. This technique is particularly important for vaccines that are unstable at higher temperatures or that require a long shelf life. It also makes it easier to transport and distribute vaccines, particularly in regions where the cold chain can be difficult to maintain. The investment is aimed at making the lines more efficient, improving quality assurance and increasing production capacity to meet the growing demand for freeze-dried vaccines worldwide.

Production of several tens of millions of doses each year

An existing 9,000 square meters building will be renovated and a 7,200 square meters extension is planned. The center will have two wings: one dedicated to 'non-living' vaccines (such as shingles or RSV vaccines) and the other to 'living' vaccines (such as measles or varicella vaccines). It will include new vaccine formulation, filling and freeze-drying units, making the manufacturing process fully integrated within a single line. The ambition is to produce several tens of millions of doses each year.

Highly innovative and sustainable production units to open in 2027

Numerous innovations and robotisation will improve the efficiency of the production process. Vaccine doses will be filled, freeze-dried and capped before each vial is tested for leaks using infrared technology at the heart of the line. This new automatic visual inspection technology will provide an unrivaled level of precision and quality. In addition, loading and unloading of the production lines will be handled by automatically guided vehicles. Particular attention has also been paid to sustainable development in the design of these new units. For example, the cooling systems for the freeze-drying equipment will emit no greenhouse gases, thanks to innovative technology. GSK Belgium’s new freeze-drying lines will open in 2027.

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