Novo starts in on massive production buildup

Novo Nordisk announced several months ago that it would invest $1.2 billion to build its first ingredient plant in the U.S., just one piece of a massive production buildup the company is undertaking around the world. Today it kicked off another, starting work on an insulin fill-and-finish plant in its home country of Denmark.

Novo ($NVO) broke ground on Wednesday on a DKK 2.1 billion ($307.8 million), 10,300-square-meter (110,868 square foot) insulin facility at its site in Hillerød, Denmark. When complete in 2019, the facility will add 450 new jobs at the site where the drugmaker already employs 1,900, Novo said in statement.

Novo's Henrik Wulff

"The investment in Hillerød underscores our long-term ambition to create and maintain jobs in Denmark," Henrik Wulff, Novo's head of product supply, said in a statement. "This year alone we have created 1,000 new jobs in Denmark, of which 500 are in production, primarily in Kalundborg and Hillerød."

Hillerød is one of Novo's key sites, with 90,000 square meters (968,751 square feet) of production and R&D operations. Besides a facility for device R&D, it has an API facility, one for assembly and packaging of diabetes products and a component molding and preassembly plant. Novo Nordisk says it has invested on average 350 million kroner ($51 million) into the facility over its more than two decades of operation.

Novo's U.S. operations president Jesper Høiland

This plant is in addition to the $2 billion expansion that Jesper Høiland, president of Novo's U.S. operations, announced in August, which includes Novo's first U.S. ingredient plant, as well as a production facility in Måløv, Denmark. The $1.2 billion investment at its site in Clayton, NC, will lead to about 700 new jobs there and the Måløv plant another 100. The new U.S. operation will manufacture the active ingredients for oral semaglutide, its experimental, daily oral treatment for Type 2 diabetes, as well as other current and future Novo insulin products. The company will also build a new production facility in Måløv, Denmark, for tableting and packaging of oral semaglutide as well as other future oral products.

And that is all in addition to the $100 million purification pilot plant it built at its new research and development facility in Bagsværd, Denmark, and a $100 million insulin plant just opened in Russia. While it is expanding globally, it says it expects most of the sales from its new diabetes treatments to come from the U.S. market.

- here's the Novo release