Weight loss drug giant to build Johnston Co. plant to add 1,000 jobs

CLAYTON, N.C. (AP) — Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, announced on Monday that it plans to add 1,000 jobs when another company manufacturing plant is built in a suburb of North Carolina’s capital to expand production of the very popular weight loss and diabetes medicines, as well as other treatments.

The Danish-based company said it will invest $4.1 billion on the new facility in Clayton. The 1.4 million square-foot (130,000 square-meter) production space for manufacturing and finishing processes would double the combined space that Novo Nordisk already has at its three plants in the Raleigh-Durham area, news outlets reported. It employs nearly 2,500 workers in the region.

The announcement would mark the largest life sciences investment in state history, said Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the state’s independent nonprofit recruiting organization. The average salary for the new positions will be $70,000, which is above Johnston County’s average of $50,605, the partnership said in a news release.

The future production site, with construction to be completed in phases between 2027 and 2029, will be able to make multiple treatments, the company said. Novo Nordisk has been best known for making insulin to treat diabetes.

“The importance of this facility we’re making is ensuring that we are flexible to both produce weight-loss products but also other chronic diseases,” Novo Nordisk vice president Niels Laurbjerg Nielsen said.

Novo Nordisk opened over 30 years ago its first facility in Clayton, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Raleigh. The drugmaker announced in 2015 plans to double facility space in Johnston County. That work was completed in 2020 and marked the company’s first facility outside of Denmark to manufacture active drugs.

The Johnston County commissioners approved incentives for the project on Monday before the company’s public announcement. The company would receive cash grants equivalent to a percentage of property tax if it meets investment goals.

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