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Drugmaker GSK plans $550 mln expansion of England R&D facility

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Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) on Friday laid out plans to set up a new life sciences campus within its R&D site in Stevenage, England, raising up to 400 million pounds ($552.76 million) by selling some land at the facility.

The London-listed drugmaker said it expects to select a private-sector developer later this year and sell 33 acres of the 92-acre site. Work on the project, backed by the UK government, is expected to begin in 2022.

GSK, locking horns with activist investor Elliott, is preparing for a planned spin-off of its consumer healthcare venture and focus on its prescription drugs and vaccines business, with heavy investments to develop a new line of products.

“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as the top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade,” said GSK senior executive Tony Wood.

GSK hopes to create up to 5,000 jobs in the next five to 10 years with the addition of the new campus.

Stevenage is one of GSK’s two global R&D hubs and houses the UK’s largest cell and gene therapy cluster.

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