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      Glaxo plans to make Mumbai plant global hub

      Posted AtBusiness-Standard

      Thane unit to be global hub for API of top-selling steroid betamethasone.

      Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals Plc is planning to make GSK India's Thane manufacturing facility a global sourcing hub for active pharma ingredient (API) for its top-selling steroid betamethasone.

      The plant is currently manufacturing this product for the domestic market. Once it is converted into a global hub, the facility will supply this API to 40 markets world-wide except the US. Currently, betamethasone in bulk is manufactured by GSK Plc at its UK plant for global requirements.

      The international market size for this high-cost, low-volume API is estimated to be around eight to nine tonnes annually. GSK and Pfizer are the two major global players in this market.

      GSK India Managing Director Kalyana Sundaram told Business Standard that the company would start its global supply for regulatory purposes by the end of 2006 or early 2007.

      Commercial supply will start only after all regulatory approvals are in place. The plant is now being put through the international system standardisation process. Besides an upgrade of the plant, a 30 to 50 per cent capacity expansion is contemplated. Currently, the plant has a capacity to manufacture three tonnes annually.

      Sundaram did not spell out the size of investment for this global standardisation and capacity-expansion programme.

      With this, GSK India will become one of the largest India-based multinationals in the drugs export business.

      The international supply arrangement with the parent company will also result in a significant increase in its revenue.

      The plant is awaiting the European quality audit. By the end of 2006, the plant will start sending consignments for the regulatory approval process for various markets.

      Sundaram said the parent company's proposal to make an Indian facility its global sourcing hub reflected its confidence in the capabilities of the Indian firm.

      In India, GSK has two manufacturing facilities in Thane and Nashik. Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals Plc's vaccine outfit - GSK Biologicals " is setting up a manufacturing facility in Nashik. This plant will be operational by the first quarter of 2006.

      December 16, 2005


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