Novo buys U.S. plant ditched by Olympus

Olympus Biologics' loss is Novo Nordisk's ($NVO) gain. This year, Japan-based Olympus gave up on producing regenerative products in the U.S. and put a "reduced" sale price on a plant in New Hampshire, which it said would close by August if it could not find a buyer. August rolled around and Sweden-based Novo swept in with a buy.

Novo said Wednesday it acquired the plant in West Lebanon, NH, for a price it would not disclose. The company said it will keep on some of the 130 former Olympus folks to get the plant ready. Whereas Olympus mainly used the location for mammalian cell manufacturing, Novo said it will use the space to make active pharmaceutical ingredients instead. The drugmaker does not yet know when the facility will be ready for production and what its future staffing needs will be. It is Novo's second manufacturing facility in the U.S. It has an insulin production plant in Clayton, NC.

Unable to get traction on its business here, Olympus decided to give up its operations, closing its headquarters in Hopkinton, MA, where about 80 people worked, as well as the plant. The company "entered into an aggressive sales process for the plant," which is about 180,000 square feet in size and has two mammalian cell culture suites with fixed and single-use platforms. Olympus said that clinical aseptic fill capacity was recently added, with barrier isolator technology.

The plant was built in 1989, expanded in 2003-2006 and acquired by Olympus Biotech in 2011. The company in 2012 tried offering contract services at the facility to make monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins, but that effort did not pan out either.  

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