(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline on Monday laid out plans for a new, 120 million pound ($164 million) headquarters for its soon-to-be-independent consumer healthcare business and also said its remaining pharmaceuticals and vaccines staff will relocate.
GSK is due to be split in two in the middle of next year in its biggest shake-up in two decades with the consumer healthcare arm, a joint venture with Pfizer known for brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Advil painkillers, becoming a separately listed company.
Headquarters for the new business, including research facilities, will be built in Weybridge, southwest of London, to house 1,400 staff from the end of 2024.
However, staff will first relocate from GSK’s current corporate headquarters in Brentford, west London, to temporary facilities in Weybridge when the split takes place in mid-2022.
Weybridge is already home to a GSK oral health research and development (R&D) site and Procter & Gamble has an operation in the area..
The rest of GSK’s Brentford staff, working for the pharmaceuticals and vaccines business, will move to an as-yet-undetermined site in the same area at the end of 2023 or later, with the pharma giant saying it would be “maintaining access to the UK’s world-leading science and innovation hubs”.
GSK said it planned to provide further updates on that location in mid-2022.
GSK House, as the Brentford headquarters are known, was built about 20 years ago after the merger of SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoWellcome in 2000 created GSK. A spokesperson said it was too spacious to house either of the two successor companies.
Relocating can be thorny as evidenced by years of delays in building AstraZeneca’s new corporate centre and large R&D campus in the English university city of Cambridge.
In 2013, when the scheme was first unveiled, costs were put at 330 million pounds and the aim was to inaugurate the centre by 2016 but construction took until 2020 and costs ballooned to about 1 billion pounds.
The listing of the GSK’s consumer healthcare business will deliver an 8 billion pound ($11 billion) windfall and other financial benefits to bolster drug development at the pharmaceuticals business.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)