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£110m asthma centre expected to secure Montrose manufacturing jobs

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A pharmaceuticals giant is laying the groundwork for a £110 million Angus facility to produce asthma medicine.

Salbutamol, sold under the brand name Ventolin, has been used to treat a number of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) around the world since its discovery in 1966.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has approached Angus Council for its scoping opinion ahead of full planning application for a manufacturing facility of up to four storeys at its Montrose base.

The multinational company has been asked to provide information on any noise and odour from “Project 350”, information on heavy goods traffic in south Montrose during its construction, and the risk of flooding when it starts production.

Building 350 would occupy the site of a former project to the northeast, near South Links Caravan Park.

It is anticipated the facility will provide long-term security for existing manufacturing jobs.

Site director Les Thomson said: “The commitment shown by GSK is a reflection of the quality and dedication of the people we have here and the strong compliance culture that exists at Montrose as we look to create a further world-class manufacturing capability for many years to come.”

Scoping opinion has been submitted to GSK planners John D Crawford Ltd, ahead of the preparation of an environment impact assessment.

The local authority approached several consultees, which do not consider it likely Building 350 in Cobden Street will have any impact on natural heritage, archaeology or the landscape.

A public meeting is anticipated on the project at the planning stage.

Planning permission is also being sought for a new reception on the long-stay car park inside its complex.

Senior planning officer Ed Taylor comments: “The proposal involves the erection of a new pharmaceutical manufacturing building and associated works to facilitate the manufacture of Salbutamol, the main respiratory relief drug found within inhalers which are often supplied as a treatment for asthma.”

Salbutamol was discovered by a team led by David Jack at the Glaxo subsidiary Allen and Hanburys and was launched as Ventolin in 1969. It has saved the lives of millions of asthmatics.

Sir David, who died aged 87 in 2011, was the scientific brain behind Glaxo’s rise and was credited with the discovery of six other important drugs including Zantac, which is used to treat peptic ulcers.

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