Novo Nordisk Plans $4.1 Bln NC Facility To Boost Obesity Drug Supply

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk announced its plans to invest $4.1 billion or about 27 billion Danish kroner to build a new manufacturing plant in Clayton, North Carolina with a view to expanding its manufacturing capacity in the United States.

In the new plant, the company plans to produce current and future injectable treatments for people with obesity and other serious chronic diseases. These mainly include weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes treatment Ozempic, among others. As per reports, demand for Wegovy and Ozempic have grown siginificantly over supply in the country, resulting in shortages and forcing the drug maker to expand its manufacturing capacities.

In 2024, Novo Nordisk further plans to boost its current investments and to allocate $6.8 billion or 45 billion kroner towards production to increase supply, significantly higher than previous year’s investment of $3.9 billion or 26 billion kroner.

The second fill and finishing manufacturing facility is expected to add 1,000 new jobs, in addition to the nearly 2,500 Novo Nordisk employees already working in the region.

The company said it has already started early clearing and foundational work to prepare the 56-acre facility footprint. Construction will gradually be finalized between 2027 and 2029. Around 2,000 external contractors will be engaged at the height of the project.

The latest manufacturing investment, marked to be one of the largest in Novo Nordisk’s history, will add 1.4 million square feet of production space for aseptic manufacturing and finished production processes. It will double the combined square footage of all three of the company’s existing facilities in North Carolina.

Further, Butch Lawter, Chair of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, announced county grants to further support the expansion project.

Clayton was the first manufacturing site for Novo Nordisk in the US. Novo Nordisk had build its first facility in the region 31 years ago, and in 2016, it announced a new facility.

Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, president and CEO of Novo Nordisk, said, “It took us a century to reach 40 million patients, but through this expansion and continued investment in our global production, we’re building Novo Nordisk’s ability to serve millions more people living with serious chronic diseases in the future.”

The new facility expects to obtain LEED Gold certification by utilising state-of-the-art technology, roof-top solar panels and innovative water strategies.

The news comes as Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen reportedly agreed last week to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders, to defend the high prices of Wegovy and Ozempic. A Wegovy prescription costs around $1,349 per month in the U.S., whereas the same costs $140 in Germany and $92 in the U.K., according to Fortune.

While responding to a letter by Sanders in May regarding costs, the drug maker argued that the U.S. health care system was the reason behind the high prices as a substantial part of its revenue goes to middlemen in the U.S. compared to Europe, Bloomberg reported.

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