Novo Nordisk buys 104 acres in North Carolina, making room for more expansion

Novo Nordisk is adding to its already considerable presence in Clayton, North Carolina. The Danish company has purchased 104 acres for $6.8 million adjacent to its huge complex, where two plants pump out diabetes and obesity medicines.

Citing two deeds posted online on Feb. 23, the Triangle Business Journal first reported Novo Nordisk’s purchase.

"For Novo Nordisk's production facilities in Johnston County, these land purchases are to ensure North Carolina remains a prime location for future potential expansion plans to improve and increase production capacity," Chad Henry, Novo Nordisk's general manager of U.S. product supply, said.

Novo Nordisk has no current plans to develop the purchased land, the company told Fierce Pharma.

With the success of its type 2 diabetes treatment Ozempic and amid booming demand for obesity drug Wegovy, Novo Nordisk is growing rapidly. In December of 2021, the company revealed a $2.58 billion commitment to expand global production capacity.

Novo Nordisk began operations in Clayton in 1993 with a plant that formulates and fills cartridges and vials, assembles pen devices and packages and labels the products.

After several expansions of the 457,000-square-foot facility, which employs 1,000 people, Novo Nordisk built a $2 billion plant next door that went online in 2021. It employs 700 people and is the company’s first facility outside of Denmark to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Last year, Novo Nordisk opened a 180,000-square-foot pill plant 40 miles to the northeast in Durham. The company bought the site from Purdue Pharma in 2019 "in order to build a domestic supply chain for oral semaglutide and future oral medicines,” a company spokesperson said at the time. The plant's proximity to Clayton also was a factor in the purchase.

Since then, Novo's oral semaglutide has won FDA approval to treat diabetes and carries the brand name Rybelsus.

Like many other drugmakers—such as Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly and Thermo Fisher—Novo Nordisk has been drawn to North Carolina by its business-friendly environment.

In September of last year, Johnston County, North Carolina, announced a performance-based economic development incentive package with Novo Nordisk. When the deal was struck, county commissioner Butch Lawler said the company would “add hundreds of new jobs through a series of expansions that will happen over the next 12 years.”

Novo Nordisk said that the recent land purchase has no connection to the incentive package agreement.