GlaxoSmithKline Underlines Commitment To Neglected Diseases With New Manufacturing Investment In Africa

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today opened a new $3M facility in Cape Town, South Africa, to produce its de-worming agent albendazole. The factory will manufacture the tablets for what is on track to be the largest drug donation program in global pharmaceutical industry history, to eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) over a 20-year period.

GSK has been working with the World Health Organization for the past seven years on a program to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by halting the transmission of the disease. LF threatens over 1 billion people in 80 countries and 120 million people are already affected, 40 million of whom are seriously incapacitated and disfigured by the disease.

JP Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline said: "This week I have seen this program in action in Ghana. After four years Ghana has hit its target of treating all ten million people at risk from the disease.

"To date 12 countries have launched LF elimination programs in Africa reaching over 20 million people. These annual mass drug administration efforts have resulted in a significant decline in the level of infection. Today, I am calling for the other 27 countries which are endemic with LF in Africa to sign up and help transform the lives of millions of people.

"The world rightly focuses much attention on AIDS, TB and Malaria, but we mustn't fall into the trap of forgetting those diseases, such as LF, which cause enormous suffering and poverty. With the right will and with continuing efforts, LF could be the second disease in history to be eliminated."

This year, GSK expects to donate 140 million treatments of albendazole to 40 countries worldwide. Since the inception of the program in 1998 GSK has provided, free of charge, over 400 million albendazole treatments to more than 80 million people worldwide. The Company has committed to provide as much albendazole as required to eliminate this disfiguring and debilitating disease.

Finding innovative solutions to fight these diseases like our partnership with the WHO, voluntary licenses and public private partnerships should be encouraged as a route to providing investment in disease areas where there are fewer treatments as well as diseases like, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB.

Notes to editors:

1. About the Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) program

The WHO has identified three priority diseases (TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria) plus a number of what it calls "Neglected Tropical Diseases." These in turn are categorized under preventative chemotherapy and transmission control, i.e.: the ones we have medicines to treat/combat, such as River Blindness (Onchocerciasis), Worms (Intestinal Helminths), Guinea Worm and of course LF; and Innovative and Intensified Disease Management where there are fewer treatment or cure options. Smallpox (in 1977) is the only disease ever to have been eradicated from the world. LF, along with Polio and Guinea Worm all have the potential to follow.

The LF program is an ambitious partnership with the WHO to eliminate LF over a 20-year period. Two drugs given once a year for five years can halt the transmission of the disease - GSK produces one of the two required drugs, albendazole, which is also a de-worming medicine. In Africa, the other drug, Mectizan(R) is donated by Merck & Co.; outside Africa, DEC is purchased by the countries for administration with donated albendazole.

Over the anticipated 20-year life of the program, GSK expects to deliver an estimated six billion tablets, valued at $1 billion. GSK also provides about $2 million each year in grants to the Global Alliance to Eliminate LF and has a dedicated team of GSK employees to support research and community and education initiatives.

The LF program is on track to be the largest ever public health program using Mass Drug Administration (MDA).

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GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements

Under the safe harbor provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by the company, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that may affect the Group's operations are described under "Risk Factors" in the Operating and Financial Review and Prospects in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2004.


CONTACT: Enquiries: US Media enquiries: Nancy Pekarek, +1-215-751-7709, orMary Anne Rhyne, +1-919-483-2839, or Patricia Seif, +1-215-751-7709; UKMedia enquiries: Philip Thomson, David Mawdsley, Chris Hunter-Ward, orAlice Hunt, (020) 8047 5502; US Analyst/Investor enquiries: Frank Murdolo,+1-215-751-7002, or Tom Curry, +1-215-751-5419; European Analyst/Investorenquiries: Duncan Learmouth, (020) 8047 5540, or Anita Kidgell, (020) 80475542, or Jen Hill, (020) 8047 5543, all of GlaxoSmithKline

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