Novo builds $40M wastewater plant then gives it away   

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Novo Nordisk is building a huge API production site in Clayon, North Carolina, in part to produce ingredients for its recently approved Rybelsus, the firstoral semaglutide to control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes patients. (Novo Nordisk)

Novo Nordisk, which built a supersized wastewater treatment plant for its massive ingredients site in North Carolina, has made a gift of the $40 million facility. 

The drugmaker donated the plant, which was built in part with $10 million in public funds, to the town council of Clayton, North Carolina where Novo is building a massive API facility.

The town hopes to use the excess capacity to attract other drugmakers, and so more jobs, to the area, according to an announcement from Clayton. 

RELATED: Novo starts construction on $1.8B plant in U.S.

“Clean water is critical to our business, and we have a responsibility to protect the environment,” Chad Henry, corporate VP general manager for Novo said in the announcement.  “This innovative economic development initiative is a win-win for all involved. In addition to providing the infrastructure needed to support our manufacturing expansion, the town of Clayton now has greater leverage to attract more businesses to the BioPharma Crescent region.”

Novo, which already had a formulation plant in Clayton, several years ago announced its intent to build its first U.S. API plant there. The $1.8 billion, 833,000-square-foot facility will have a footprint of 417,639 square feet, which it said equates to about seven football fields. When complete, the company will add about 700 jobs to its Clayton site.

RELATED: Novo Nordisk wins FDA green light for 'holy grail' diabetes drug Rybelsus

The wastewater plant, which was designed to be expanded as needed, can reach a capacity of nearly 450,000 gallons a day. 

One of the reasons it needed such a large site and chose to build in the U.S. was in anticipation of approval of an oral semaglutide, a once a day pill to control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes patients. Novo last month won approval of the highly anticipated drug, which it has branded Rybelsus. The drug, the approval of which was preceded by a stream of impressive clinical results, is expected to shake up the diabetes treatment market and tun in huge rewards for the Danish drugmaker.