Novo building $225M plant for hemophilia treatments

With longer-acting hemophilia drugs expanding the market of treatments for the rare blood disorder, drugmakers are trying to get out ahead with new production. Novo Nordisk ($NVO) today started construction of a $225-million plant in Denmark. That comes just about two weeks after Bayer HealthCare said it would pump $100 million into its hemophilia production facilities in the San Francisco Bay area.

Novo's Henrik Wulff

Novo will build a 7,500-square-meter (80,729-square-foot), 1.5-billion Danish kroner plant at its extensive site in Kalundborg. When operational in 2020, Novo said the new plant will add 100 production and engineering jobs at the Kalundborg operation. At 1 million square meters, Kalundborg is Novo's largest manufacturing site with about 2,800 employees. "This year alone we expect Novo Nordisk will create about 250 new jobs in Kalundborg, and we are always on the lookout for capable and highly skilled employees," Henrik Wulff, EVP of product supply, said in a statement.

The new plant will manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients for NovoSeven, its first hemophilia treatment, as well as future products for the rare blood disorder. Last year Novo got approval for Novoeight, its newer version treatment for hemophilia A, and hopes to get to the FDA this year for the first of two long-acting hemophilia products. To help with its production needs in the U.S., Novo is converting a biologics plant in New Hampshire that it acquired last year from Olympus Biologics.

Novo is trailing Biogen ($BIIB) in the market for the long-acting treatments, which already has two of the next-gen meds on the market. Novo is also racing with Bayer for approval in what is expected to be a lucrative category. Bayer, citing its work in that category, in April said it was putting $100 million investment in its R&D facilities at its Berkeley, CA, facility that is focused on developing new treatments for hemophilia. Bayer last year also committed about $700 million to expand production of hemophilia products at manufacturing plants in Leverkusen and Wuppertal, Germany, expansion that will add about 500 jobs when complete in 2020.

- here's the release