PHARMACEUTICAL giant GSK has unveiled its £44 million vaccine production facility in Montrose.

The site, which will produce ingredients for vaccines to treat conditions such as tetanus, pneumonia and whooping cough, has been five years in the making. GSK had first announced plans for its facility, which is now being commissioned, in 2012.

The facility will create a further 19 skilled jobs in Montrose by the time it is fully operational in 2019, increasing GSK’s current 450-strong headcount in the Angus town. It will manufacture sterile aluminium salts – compounds which boost the human body’s response to vaccines.

The investment comes on top of the £29 million GSK said it will spend to support the manufacture of medicines for respiratory illnesses at Montrose. It takes to £342m the investment made by the drugs company in both manufacturing at the town and its antibiotics operation in Irvine since 2012.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet colleagues took part a public discussion in Montrose town hall yesterday where they were due to hear issues raised by the local community.

Ms Sturgeon said: “GSK is a global leader in medicine, and their continued investment in Scotland further enhances our reputation as a location of choice for inward investment from global life sciences companies.

“This is GSK’s first sterile manufacturing facility in Scotland, and this latest expansion in their operations is a boost for our life sciences industry.”

GSK site director Les Thomson said: “Today’s ceremony is all about people – more than 20 million people a day rely on what we manufacture here at Montrose. All of us on site are driven by the knowledge that what we do really makes a difference for patients.”

He added: “Montrose was able to be considered for this investment by GSK because we have the right mix of people and skills.”