GSK to Harness Formula 1 Technology

Sep 22, 2011

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is looking to racecar technology as it seeks to improve its manufacturing, R&D, and consumer-healthcare areas. The company has formed a long-term partnership with the UK-based McLaren Group, which is best known for its expertise in the Formula 1 motor sport.

Under the terms of the agreement, McLaren will share its capabilities in engineering, technology, analytics, and strategy modeling to help improve performance at GSK’s global businesses. The partnership will initially last until 2016.

Initially, the partnership will examine GSK’s manufacturing, R&D, and consumer healthcare segments. The companies are evaluating a strategic program to apply McLaren’s engineering and technical expertise to GSK’s production lines to reduce breakdowns and improve costs and customer service. McLaren’s technology will also be used to improve clinical research processes by accelerating trial design and enabling real-time patient monitoring and treatment adjustment. Finally, GSK will work with McLaren’s Formula 1 Mission Control unit, which analyzes the team’s performance and directs decision making during a Grand Prix, to create a similar facility at GSK. This facility could quicken responses to consumer activity and customer needs and inform decision making about inventory management, pricing, and retailer stocking.

“I am delighted to announce this partnership with McLaren, which brings together two British companies whose continued success hinges on the ability to innovate and rapidly respond to change and competitor activity,” said Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, in a statement. “McLaren has an unparalleled reputation for innovation built on rigorous analytics and fast decision making.”

“This all-new collaboration between McLaren Group and GSK—McLaren’s first ever such association with a major pharmaceutical corporation—represents a strategic partnership that engages two great British companies at a variety of levels across a number of disciplines in a multifaceted and groundbreaking way,” said Ron Dennis, executive chairman at McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive, in the statement. “Specifically, our intention is that GSK will harness McLaren’s world-beating Formula 1-bred technology, processes and operational dynamism, in order to enhance its performance across a wide variety of its divisions in a way that none of its competitors can match. In today’s challenging economic conditions, we firmly believe that innovative associations such as ours will play an increasingly significant role in ensuring that the UK remains globally competitive in the field of scientific innovation.”

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