Grifols Produces First Batches of Potential COVID-19 Therapeutic for Testing
Grifols, a global biotherapeutics company with major operations in North Carolina, has delivered the first batches of a therapeutic product manufactured in Clayton that could help prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.
Doses of the company’s hyperimmune globulin are ready for clinical trials that will test the product’s safety and effectiveness in combating SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Since April, Grifols has been collecting blood plasma donated by healthy people who have recovered from COVID-19. The plasma, collected at the company’s more than 245 U.S. donation centers, is processed to yield hyperimmune globulin, a solution containing protective antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
“Grifols is grateful to all the plasma donors who through their generosity are now helping to develop a medicine, a hyperimmune globulin, whose concentrated antibodies will potentially provide others with passive immunity to overcome the disease,” said Victor Grifols Deu, co-chief executive officer of Grifols.
The efforts are part of a collaboration agreement with U.S. government entities, including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority.
In addition to clinical trials in the U.S., Grifols is working on a European clinical trial of a hyperimmune globulin using convalescent COVID-19 plasma collected in Europe.
As a medicine class, hyperimmune globulins have been increasingly used since the 1970s to prevent and treat common diseases including measles, rabies and tetanus. They are also a potential therapy option in response to future outbreaks of emerging viruses and other pathogens.
Growing in Clayton
Grifols is the worldwide leader in the production and sale of immunoglobulins, a growing global market. Facilities at its Clayton manufacturing campus have been specifically designed to process specialty immunoglobulins and other plasma-derived medicines.
The Clayton campus is one of the world’s largest manufacturing sites for plasma-derived medicines. With more than 1,600 employees, it is the largest employer in Johnston County.
In June Grifols announced it will hire 300 more employees in Clayton as part of a $351.6 million investment that will add a specialized blood plasma facility and logistics center. The expansion is the latest of several additions in recent years.
Grifols also has a bioscience division headquarters in Research Triangle Park that employs more than 400 people.
Founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1909, Grifols has more than 24,000 employees in 30 countries and regions. Its products are sold in more than 100 countries through four divisions: bioscience, diagnostic, hospital and bio supplies.