To meet demand for its medication for adult patients that have active, autoantibody-positive, systemic lupus erthermatosus (SLE), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said it will put $139 million into its biopharmaceutical manufacturing location in Rockville, Maryland.
The company said in a release the investment would help meet demand for Benlysta (belimumab) for treating patients with SLE, a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects any part of the body including skin, organs or joints. Between 170,000 and 200,000 patients in the U.S. suffer with SLE. GSK said the investment is expected to increase production of Benlysta by nearly 50 percent.
Demand for the medication has increased about 18 percent each year in the United States since 2014, the release said. In 2016, GSK said it had brought in $377 million from sales of the medication in the U.S.
GSK said its labs in Rockville have also been working on a new subcutaneous form of the drug.
The manufacturing site in Rockville has two FDA-licensed facilities and over 400 scientists, engineers and other related staff that work on large and small scale manufacturing at the facility.