GlaxoSmithKline inaugurates new office at the City of Knowledge
The strategic location of Panama as well as the ease of communication with major research centers in Central, South and North America and Europe, were the primary advantages for the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to make Panama into its hub for clinical research and medical affairs of vaccines for all Latin America.
This was made official on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, during the opening of their new facility, located at the City of Knowledge. Senior government officials led by the Minister of the Presidency, Roberto Henríquez, attended the opening ceremony. Similarly, Member of Parliament and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, Hugo Swire, attended the event, as well as top executives of GSK in Latin America.
Avote of confidencefor Panama
"The country's migration facilities, coupled with its enviable geographic location and the ability to interact with other institutions in the City of Knowledge, consolidate this country as a very appropriate place to conduct our clinical research activities," said Dr. Eduardo Ortega, Vice President of GSK Vaccines for Latin America and the Caribbean, who, along with his whole team, is based in Panama.
In practice, this means that from Panama they coordinate all research activities and clinical development of new vaccines, Medical Affairs, Epidemiology, Safety and Pharmaco-economics. Similarly, from the country they coordinate the medical/scientific interactions between GSK Vaccines and the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C.
The Vaccines GSK renewed operation in Panama has 76 direct collaborators, and also employs a variable number of professionals through Clinical Research Organizations. Moreover, through its research in Latin America, it generates hundreds of indirect jobs, including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, etc.. The Panama-based team comprises Panamanians, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Colombians, and Costa Ricans. The annual budget for GSK clinical research in Latin America is about 25 million dollars.
GSK aims to strengthen and promote vaccine clinical research in Panama and Latin America on issues of interest to the Latin American Public Health including pneumococcal disease, human papilloma virus and dengue. The company recognizes the contributions of local researchers, regulating authorities and academics in their efforts to create the right conditions for the advancement of clinical research in Panama.
Therefore, GSK expects to sign cooperation agreements with public and private universities and research institutes in the country with the intention of creating interactions that will make up the next generation of researchers and monitors the company needs to boost its activities and those of other public and private institutions in the same branch.
About GSK in Panama
GSK's operations in Panama date back to 1949, when it was known as Sterling Products. Since then the company has gone through a series of mergers and name changes until they became GlaxoSmithKline in the year 2000.
In Panama, they operate through 4 Business Units such as the Manufacturing Plant, which exports to 15 markets in Latin America and employs 173 people, the Logistics and Distribution Unit, which directly employs 25 people and also generates between 30 and 40 indirect jobs, the Local Sales Force with approximately 30 direct employees as well as 30 indirect employees, and the aforementioned Vaccine team, whose services cover the whole area of Latin America and the Caribbean.
About GSK Vaccines
GlaxoSmithKline, one of the pharmaceutical and healthcare world leader in research, is committed to improving the quality of life of people, allowing them to do more, feel better and live longer.
GSK Vaccines, the vaccine division of GSK, is headquartered in Rixensart, Belgium, where they develop most of GlaxoSmithKline's activities in the field of research, development and production of vaccines. GSK Vaccines employs more than 1,500 scientists destined to discover new vaccines and develop more appropriate and cost effective products in order to prevent infections that cause serious medical disorders worldwide.