Novo Nordisk Doubling Clayton Pharma Site With $1.85B Expansion


  • $1.85B Expansion in Johnston County
  • Doubling Workforce of 700 
  • Collaborative Success for EDPNC, NCBiotech and State/Local Officials
  • Each Biomanufacturing Job Creates Six Total Jobs

Novo Nordisk, a key member of North Carolina’s globally significant biomanufacturing landscape, is adding a projected $1.85 billion expansion and doubling its workforce of 700 at its 22-year-old Clayton campus in Johnston County.

The Danish producer of diabetes drugs and insulin-delivery systems, hemophilia drugs and hormone therapies finalized a months-long process of negotiations and planning with economic development organizations and state and local officials in a formal announcement of the expansion during a news conference today.

The new 200,000-square-foot facility will expand the company’s ability to produce ingredients for current and future diabetes-fighting products when it begins operation in 2020.

Novo Nordisk also announced plans to establish a new $800 million production facility in Denmark for tableting and packaging of oral products. That investment will create an estimated 100 new jobs.

"With the new plant in Clayton and continuous investments in our current API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) production plants in Kalundborg, Denmark, we will have sufficient API capacity for diabetes products well into the next decade," said Henrik Wulff, executive vice president and head of product supply at Novo Nordisk.

"We decided to place the new API facilities in the U.S. for strategic reasons," he added. "The U.S. is by far our largest market and there are many logistical and economic advantages of having a larger part of our manufacturing in our main market. After a thorough evaluation of multiple sites and an extensive vetting process, Clayton ended up being our preferred location. We already have a large and very professional organization there and an excellent collaboration with city, local and state leadership, and we appreciate the incentives they have secured in connection with this investment."

NC Collaborates for Success

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina played a leading role in working with Novo Nordisk management, in partnership with life science economic development and market data experts at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, leaders of the state's community college system and other state and local officials. Read more about this team effort on our blog.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s One North Carolina Fund had made two earlier incentive investments into the Clayton plant’s growth. The first, in 2010, was for $112,000. Another two years later was for $288,000.

Jesper Høiland, president of Novo Nordisk U.S., talks of the company's expansion plans as NC Gov. Pat McCrory (left) and Commerce Secretary John Skvarla join in the news conference.


The expansion announced today puts the company in line for up to $15.9 million in state incentives upon meeting agreed-upon hiring and investment milestones. The new jobs  will pay an average $68,420. That’s nearly twice the Johnston County average wage, though less than the statewide life science average of $81,000.

Johnston County commissioners called a special meeting to release details of the project, after agreeing to pay some $2.2 million to buy 95 acres of land adjacent to the existing Novo Nordisk property, and then lease the land to Novo Nordisk, giving the company an option to buy it. The Johnston County Economic Development Corp. has agreed to share $350,000 of that cost, and the town of Clayton agreed to provide water and sewer service to the site.

The contingent of celebrants at the afternoon news conference was led by Gov. Pat McCrory, who praised Novo Nordisk as a valuable corporate citizen.

Top Ranked Life Science Cluster

An article in the May, 2015 issue of Site Selection magazine carried an extensive overview of Novo Nordisk, mentioning the company’s Clayton facility as a key contributor to the magazine’s ranking of the Triangle area the fourth-best life science cluster in the United States.

Other companies producing pharmaceuticals in the greater Triangle region include such major global players as Biogen, BD,  Eisai, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, GlaxoSmithKline, Grifols, Merck, Novozymes, Patheon, Pfizer, Seqirus (the recently named purchaser of the former Novartis facility in Holly Springs), United Therapeutics and Zoetis.

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