GW Pharmaceuticals’ parent has announced construction of a new major cannabinoid manufacturing facility at the UK’s Kent Science Park has commenced.
GW Pharma is the manufacturer of Epidiolex, which was the first CBD (cannabidiol) medicine approved by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration. Marketed under the name Epidyolex in the EU and Australia, it has also been approved in the European Union and by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of Lennox‑Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in children.
In February last year, global pharmaceutical and NASDAQ listed company Jazz Pharmaceuticals announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GW Pharma for a total consideration of a whopping USD $7.2 billion.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals said last week the new $100 million (approximately £75m) GW facility will be approximately 60,000 sq. ft and once operational the project will create more than 100 highly skilled new jobs.
Due to open in 2024, the facility is designed to support the manufacturing of Epidiolex and Epidyolex, plus support future capacity for new medicines under development.
“The UK has been our home for over two decades. This strategic investment underlines Jazz’s continued commitment to the UK and will help us bring potentially life-changing medicines to more patients who desperately need them in the UK and around the world,” said Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Chris Tovey.
With environmental considerations a hot topic these days, the new facility will also have a bit of eco street-cred. Among its green features will be animal refuge boxes to help support wildlife in the local area, the use of single use plastics will be minimised and more than 1,100 solar panels will be installed to partly power the facility by harvesting the energy of the sun.
The UK’s Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, welcomed the project.
“This £75m investment by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in a state of the art pharmaceutical manufacturing facility is a big sign of confidence in the UK life science ecosystem,” said Minister Freeman. “Not only will this investment support the creation of over 100 additional highly skilled jobs in the region, it is a sign of UK expertise in cannabinoid science and medicines serving the U.K. and beyond.”
GW Pharmaceuticals currently already manufactures cannabinoid medicines at Kent Science Park. It has 12 buildings in the Park, where more than 400 staff work. Kent Science Park occupies around 65 acres and hosts a number of agri-tech, biotech and biopharma companies.