After receiving permission to build a £350m plant at a former GSK site in UK last year, Lakes Bio's plan has reportedly fallen through.

Millie Nelson, Editor

April 11, 2022

2 Min Read
GSK site revamp reportedly on ropes; PE blames lack of Gov commitment
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

After receiving permission to build a £350 million biomanufacturing facility at a former GSK site in Ulverston, UK last year, Lakes BioSciences’ plan has reportedly fallen through.

In February 2021, contact development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lakes BioScience was granted permission from South Lakeland District to build a facility on GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) site located on North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston, Cumbria.

Lakes BioScience director, Pat McIver told BioProcess Insider at the time that £350 million ($490 million) was being invested to build a monoclonal antibody (mAb) production facility at the site.


Image: Stock Photo Secrets

Ten months later, The Times reported that the plan had “fallen over” and quoted Tony Mallin, executive chairman of Star Capital, the private equity firm behind the project. The venture had been abandoned due to “lack of a long-term contract commitment from the government [as] this was not high up on their priority list at the moment and all the focus is on vaccines,” he said.

McIver remains optimistic for future ventures, according to local publication The Mail. “We are from Ulverston, we have the connection with GSK, and we have the skills in the local area so our heart very much remains with the Ulverston option,” he said in December. “But we have also had discussions in other areas in the north of England, Scotland and Wales which have different advantages and they have made it very clear they are keen to have a facility like ours in those areas.”

A spokesperson for Lakes BioScience dismissed this as “very old news” and did not disclose any further details.

GSK backing

The site was expected to create 250 jobs and McIver said in February 2021 the release of people from GSK by 2025 would be an important factor in how the firm will develop and grow its workforce.

Two months later, Lake BioScience said GSK backed its plans and had pledged to help the CDMO in its efforts to secure the contract.

GSK has had a 70-year history at the Ulverston site. In 2014 it planned to construct a £350 million biologics facility. However, GSK shelved that plan in 2017 and pulled out of the site altogether in February 2021, announcing Sandoz (a division of Novartis) has acquired its antibiotics business prompting the closure of Ulverston over the next four years.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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