Grifols celebrates 50 years in Clayton

Grifols, a global manufacturer of plasma-based medicines headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, held a celebration to mark 50 years in Clayton, NC.

Grifols acquired the Johnston County facility in 2011 from Talecris Biotherapeutics, turning Grifols into a top-three plasma-sector powerhouse. 

Fifty years ago, the site opened as Cutter Laboratories and produced modest quantities of a single medicine, plasma-derived albumin, distributed domestically. The facility has grown from a small set of three buildings to a complex of more than 30 buildings spanning more than 240 acres. 

Grifols timeline
Grifols' timeline wall at the Clayton facility.

Today, the Grifols Clayton campus manufactures more than 14 million vials of plasma medicines annually – about 40% of the company’s total global output – a portfolio that now also includes immunoglobulins, both intravenous and subcutaneous, as well as alpha-1 antitrypsin, specialty proteins and blood clotting factors to treat patients all over the world. More than 1,600 people work at the Clayton facility.

“The success of the Grifols Clayton manufacturing site over the last 50 years is thanks to the great work of the thousands of employees committed to helping patients have more complete and fulfilling lives,” said Thomas Glanzmann, Grifols Executive Chairman. “Ever since becoming part of Grifols, Clayton has been a company crown jewel, a driver of innovative medicines and sustainable manufacturing practices that has been a major contributor to our growth over the last nearly 15 years.”

Grifols locals tour
Local officials tour the Clayton site. -Photo from Grifols

More than 100 local dignitaries, company officials and media – from NC and Spain – were on hand at the company’s facility on Thursday, April 18, for the celebration.

“Our Clayton site represents all that is special about our company – trusted medicines, exceptional engineering, sustainable operations and a committed workforce that gives its all each and every day to make a positive impact on patients,” said Nacho Abia, Grifols CEO. “As we celebrate this historic site’s Golden Anniversary, we also look forward to all its future achievements.”

A model of innovation

The site, which operates around the clock, 365 days a year, includes advanced robotics that span the entire plasma-medicine manufacturing cycle, from fractionation to purification, to filling and packaging of the final medicinal product. Innovations at Clayton are being replicated today at new Grifols manufacturing sites in Montreal, Canada, and Cairo, Egypt.

Cutter 1970s
Cutter Laboratories, pre-Grifols, circa 1974. -Photo from Grifols

The North Carolina site’s technology has also been on the front lines of recent public health crises, company officials said. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Clayton produced an anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune globulin at a special-purpose facility equipped and staffed with personnel trained in the production of plasma-derived medicines for infectious diseases. This specialized knowledge was applied several years earlier during an outbreak of Ebola, for which the Clayton team produced anti-Ebola immunoglobulins.

Naturally sustainable

Within the Clayton campus, Grifols maintains a 300-acre (121 hectares) wildlife habitat area to protect and enhance biodiversity. The reserve includes eight walking trails and is home to more than 300 plant and animal species. This area holds a GOLD conservation certification, the highest tier available from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

In 2019, Grifols became the first pharmaceutical company in the United States to receive the Zero-Waste-to-Landfill validation from Underwriters Laboratories in recognition of the Clayton site diverting 99% of its waste materials from landfills. It has maintained this validation for the last five consecutive years.

Grifols aerial today
An aerial view of the Grifols Clayton facility today. -Photo from Grifols

The site is also home to the first LEED-certified building in Johnston County, where the town of Clayton is located. Grifols’ campus here now has two LEED facilities as well as two Green Globes buildings certified by the Green Building Initiative (GBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving building performance and reducing climate impacts.

"Grifols is an outstanding member of our life sciences ecosystem in North Carolina, and we look forward to seeing what the company will do over the next 50 years here in Clayton," said Doug Edgeton, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. "The company's community partnerships and long average employee tenure speak to how highly it values its service to patients around North Carolina and around the world."

Grifols’ involvement in Johnston County includes a broad range of programs and initiatives to help the local communities. Since 2015, Grifols has promoted its ‘Discover the Plasma,’ program, which it developed to enhance North Carolina middle school science curricula while raising awareness about plasma-derived medicines. Grifols also supports the Johnston Community College Workforce Development Center, which it helped create in 2005 and has since supported a state-of-the-art simulated drug-manufacturing environment to train skilled employees in Johnston County and help them find work locally.

For questions or more information, contact:
Chris Capot
Director, Public Relations Corporate Communications 919-549-8889 |

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