By 2021, a GlaxoSmithKline-owned skin care manufacturing plant in Sligo, Ireland will cease operations. The shutdown will affect 165 employees who will be out of a job in the next three years.
The Sligo manufacturing facility was founded in 1975 by Stiefel Laboratories, a dermatological pharmaceutical company. The company was acquired by GSK in 2009, however its products were still sold under the Stifel Laboratories brand.
About 40 different skin care products have been produced at the Sligo plant, including topical formulations such as Physiogel moisturizing creams and lotions, Oilatum eczema care and Driclor antiperspirant. These products were distributed in more than 65 markets around the world.
GSK also designated the Sligo facility as a New Product Introduction (NPI) site, which means it was responsible for launching new skin care products on the market. According to The Irish Times, this manufacturing site was previously slated for closure before being saved by an investment from GSK in 2012.
Unfortunately, it seems the plant is closing for good this time, with slow sales of Stiefel Laboratories’ skin care products prompting GSK to cut their losses. However, the British pharmaceutical company will retain a significant footprint in Ireland with its commercial operations located in Dublin along with two manufacturing sites in Cork and Dungarvan.
“Demand for the products made on site has not grown in line with previous expectations, due to the highly competitive market in which we operate, making our current business model unsustainable,” said GSK in a statement about the closure.
Workers at the Sligo, Ireland plant aren’t the only GSK employees facing impending job loss; earlier this month, the drugmaker announced that a manufacturing site in Chittagong, Bangladesh would be closing, with over 1,000 workers losing their jobs.
While the news is certainly not good for certain GSK employees, the move is a strategic one for the company as it focuses on other areas of revenue. In March, the company announced it would be acquiring Novartis’ stake in a joint consumer health business for the sum of $13 billion. The deal will give GSK full ownership over OTC consumer health products like Excedrin, Theraflu and Sensodyne.
Last month, GSK also inked a $300 million deal with DNA test company 23andMe to use its genetic data to discover new drug targets for precision medicines and help recruit appropriate patients into clinical trials.