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Diabetes Drug Manufacturer Breaks Ground, Begins Hiring in Clayton

Jill Brown
The pharmaceutical company manufactures insulin.

A Danish pharmaceutical company broke ground on its second facility in Johnston County Monday. Novo Nordisk says the $1.8 billion plant will be built next to an existing company facility and share its infrastructure.

Site Director Gary Lohr says the new plant will manufacture the company's products, instead of just packaging them.

"We've been manufacturing diabetes medicines out of Kalundborg and out of our site Denmark facilities. and this is the first time we've actually moved it outside of Denmark."

The facility will produce insulin and a new drug called GLP-1. Lohr says the protein is in trials now.

"Right now, our existing treatment, when you start suffering form the onslaught of diabetes, when your pancreas is still able to make insulin, our existing drug and quite a few of them that are on the market are injectables. This is actually an oral dosage."

Lohr says the facility should be up and running by late 2020. He says Novo Nordisk already has hired about 100 people for the nearly 700 jobs this plant is expected to create.

A Novo Nordisk statement says the average salary at this plant will be $68,000 dollars per year. North Carolina put up $15.8 million dollars in Job Development Investment Grant incentives to attract the project.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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