GSK said the investments, at its sites at Barnard Castle in County Durham, Montrose in Scotland and Ware in Hertfordshire, will “boost production and support delivery of [GSK’s] latest innovative respiratory and enormous molecule biological medicines”. Most of those products it makes will be exported to “global markets”, it said.

Andrew Witty, GSK’s outgoing chief executive, said: “It is testament to our skilled UK workforce and the state’s leading position in life sciences that we are making these investments in advanced manufacturing here. From their manufacture in the UK, multitudinous of these medicines will be sent to patients around the earth.”

Expert in advanced manufacturing David Isaac of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, welcomed the announcement. He said it indicated confidence in the UK as a manufacturing base despite the state’s vote to depart the EU and said it would be good for jobs and the future of British manufacturing outside of the UK.

Life sciences specialist Helen Cline of Pinsent Masons said: “This announcement today by GSK is a welcome vote of confidence from the sector that the UK is unlock for business and will persevere to deliver on its life sciences strategy. Outside the EU, the UK would be free to offer better incentives to life sciences companies such as improved tax incentives which could ensure that the UK post-Brexit remains an attractive place for life sciences investment.”

At its Barnard Castle site GSK will spend £92m to build “an aseptic sterile facility” where both recent and existing biopharma products will be produced, the company said.

In Montrose the company said an investment of approximately £110m will “provide a recent, state-of-the-art facility for the manufacture of respiratory active ingredients”, while £72m will be spent at its site in Ware to increase its “manufacturing capacity” for a respiratory inhaler it makes.

GSK said its investments would provide jobs in construction and is likely to lead to “recent employment opportunities” at the three sites too. In total GSK operates nine sites in the UK, employing approximately 6,000 populace.

“The company views the UK as an attractive location for investment in advanced manufacturing due to a number of factors including the skilled workforce, technological and scientific capabilities & infrastructure and a competitive corporate tax system,” the company said. “This includes the Patent Box, which encourages investment in R&D and related manufacturing in the UK by delivering a lower rate of corporation tax on profits generated from UK-owned intellectual property.” 

GSK’s investments come despite chief executive Andrew Witty having warned about the risks of the UK voting to depart the EU prior to June’s referendum.

Witty said previously: “enormous parts of the UK’s life sciences base has strong links with Europe whether that be for trade, manufacturing, scientific research collaborations or the harmonised regulatory drug approval system. Leaving the EU would create uncertainty and potentially sumup complexity. That’s why GSK sees advantages in remaining in the EU.”