Pharma giant GSK opens Asia HQ in one-north

GSK Asia House, the facility at Rochester Park in one-north, functions as the commercial hub for more than half of the firm's global healthcare operations. PHOTO: GSK

British pharmaceutical giant GSK officially opened its Asia headquarters here yesterday.

GSK Asia House, the facility at Rochester Park in one-north, functions as the commercial hub for more than half of the firm's global healthcare operations.

More than 800 employees work there, including the senior regional leadership teams of the pharmaceutical, vaccine and consumer healthcare businesses. The Singapore headquarters will work alongside GSK's US hub to support its global headquarters in Britain in managing commercial activities around the world.

The company declined to reveal how much it invested in the 14,330 sq m facility, which has been up and running since May.

GSK was the first global healthcare company to establish a presence in Singapore, opening an outlet in 1959. Since then, it has invested more than US$2.5 billion (S$3.4 billion) here.

It has manufacturing sites in Jurong and Quality Road in Boon Lay, as well as a vaccine manufacturing facility in Tuas. It employs some 1,600 people here.

GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley said yesterday: "In building our new regional headquarters... we aim to create a more agile, high-performing and sustainable business in Asia, with the very best talent.

"We have expanded the business footprint that is managed out of Singapore, adopting a new structure for our pharmaceutical business and anchoring more of our global teams here."

The Singapore headquarters will also play a critical role in developing the next generation of leaders at the company, added Ms Walmsley. The facility includes a learning and development centre that aims to nurture a pipeline of leadership talent from Asia who can be considered for global roles. The programme is projected to train more than 250 individuals over five years, including 50 Singaporeans.

GSK has established a Shopper Science Lab here to drive growth in key markets such as China, India and South-east Asia with analysis of shopper behaviour and collaboration with retailers.

The firm's decision to locate GSK Asia House here, alongside 30 other top biomedical science companies' regional headquarters, reflects Singapore's importance as a strategic hub for businesses to tap Asia's growing healthcare market, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at yesterday's opening ceremony.

Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin said: "Ageing populations and the growing affluence in Asia point to the strong potential of the healthcare market. GSK's new Asia headquarters in Singapore will position the company well to capture these opportunities.

"This investment represents yet another milestone in GSK's longstanding partnership with Singapore, and is testament to Singapore's attractiveness as the biomedical hub in this region."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline Pharma giant GSK opens Asia HQ in one-north. Subscribe