Novo Nordisk to boost output of Wegovy, Ozempic with new NC facility

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Novo Nordisk to boost output of Wegovy, Ozempic with new NC facility



Novo Nordisk’s new manufacturing facility in Clayton, North Carolina.

Courtesy: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk announced Monday that it will spend $4.1 billion to build a new manufacturing facility in Clayton, North Carolina, to increase supplies of its blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy, diabetes drug Ozempic and other injectable therapies to increase.

Demand for Wegovy and Ozempic exceeded supply last year, causing temporary shortages in the U.S. and forcing the Danish drugmaker to invest heavily in expanding its manufacturing footprint. The company said it plans to invest $6.8 billion in production this year, up from about $4 billion last year.

According to a statement from the company, the new production facility will be responsible for filling and packaging syringes and injection pens for the medication.

“This investment really gives us the opportunity to serve more patients,” Doug Langa, head of Novo Nordisk’s North America business, said in an interview. “Importantly, I think the other important message here is further investment in the US. I think we’re very proud of that.”

Construction of the 1.4 million square meter facility has begun and is expected to be completed between 2027 and 2029, Novo Nordisk said. The company said 1,000 employees will staff the site, in addition to the 2,500 employees already working at its three existing manufacturing facilities in North Carolina.

This includes two sites already operating in Clayton – one responsible for filling and finishing operations and another responsible for producing the active ingredient in the company’s diabetes pill Rybelsus. The company also has a location in Durham, North Carolina, responsible for the manufacturing and packaging of oral medications, and another location in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

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According to a spokesman for Novo Nordisk, twelve additional production sites are located in Denmark, France, China, Japan, Algeria, Brazil, Iran and Russia.

According to a Food and Drug Administration database, three lower doses of Wegovy are currently in short supply in the U.S. due to high demand. Patients start Wegovy at lower doses and gradually increase the amount every four weeks until they reach a target dose.

Wegovy and Ozempic belong to a class of drugs called GLP-1, which mimic hormones produced in the gut to suppress a person’s appetite and regulate their blood sugar.

About 35,000 U.S. patients are now starting Wegovy each week on average, up from about 27,000 in May, a spokesman for Novo Nordisk said in a statement. However, Langa said the company is “very intentional” about how many lower doses it will bring to the U.S. market to ensure that patients who have already started taking Wegovy can continue treatment at higher doses.

Rival drug manufacturer Eli Lilly has also committed billions of dollars to increase production capacity for its popular GLP-1 weight loss and anti-diabetes drugs, Zepbound and Mounjaro. The company also has several manufacturing facilities in North Carolina.

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Correction: Novo Nordisk’s existing facilities in Clayton, North Carolina are responsible for filling and finishing operations as well as production of the active ingredient in the company’s diabetes pill Rybelsus. An earlier version of this story misstated these features.



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2024-06-24 21:59:05

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