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Success Stories


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is celebrating 40 years of success in Irvine, where its plant produces 2,500 tonnes of antibiotics every year - enough to provide more than100 million people with a one month supply of the antibiotic Augmentin. The plant supplies secondary manufacturing sites in UK, France, Africa and the Middle East.

Augmentin is one of GSK’s ten biggest products and the most used antibiotic in emerging markets, with sales per annum of over £600 million.

The organisation is truly global, with offices in 115 countries and an extensive manufacturing network of 87 sites around the world. Over 60 of the Irvine plant’s senior level employees chose to start their careers with GSK in Irvine, with the lifestyle and cost of living in North Ayrshire key to retaining talent and attracting highly skilled professionals. To support and grow local talent, this year GSK recruited five manufacturing and two process science apprentices to their Irvine site from Ayrshire College.

The Irvine plant opened in 1973, after GSK identified a need to expand their UK operations. As a high energy user, Irvine’s coastal position provided an attractive location for the Company, as well as great access to transport links.

Surrounding land allows ample room for continued development, and the plant is currently benefitting from a number of investments. Development of a biogas facility is due for completion in 2014 and will allow on-site conversion of bio waste from the manufacturing process into a sustainable energy source. A further £50 million investment to increase the Augmentin active product ingredient facility will create 20 new jobs in Irvine in the next five years.

Scottish Enterprise and North Ayrshire Council have been valuable partners to GSK, providing training grants, Regional Selective Assistance funding and accessible channels to the Scottish Government.


 “I relocated in January to North Ayrshire from Switzerland with my family. Largs is one of our favourite spots to spend time together - my kids love going there to get ice cream.” Alastair Leighton, Site Director, Irvine.