GlaxoSmithKline will spend $245 million on drug R&D hub in Upper Providence

New high tech meeting room at GlaxoSmithKline's updated drug research and discovery facility in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County.

GlaxoSmithKline announced a $139 million investment Monday in its manufacturing site in Rockville, Md., and reiterated that it will spend $245 million to upgrade its drug research and discovery hub in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County.

The U.K.-based drugmaker, which employs 5,000 in the Philadelphia area, is building out four floors of new labs, called "smart" labs because they have updated technology at the Collegeville site in Upper Providence Township. By 2018, GSK has said, nearly 40 percent of its global pharmaceutical research and drug development workforce will be based in Collegeville, one of two R&D hubs worldwide. The other is in Stevenage, England, outside London.

In Rockville, Md., which has two FDA-licensed facilities for manufacturing, the investment will be used to expand production capacity for Benlysta, a drug approved to treat lupus, an autoimmune disease. Since 2014, sales of the product have grown 18 percent a year, with U.S. sales of $377 million in 2016, the company said.