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Novo Nordisk will build $100m facility in Denmark

Bagsvaerd site will support growing diabetes pipeline
Novo Nordisk headquarters

Novo Nordisk has said it plans to build a new purification plant at its R&D facility in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, to support its diabetes pipeline.

The new pilot facility will expand its ability to make active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for use in its early-stage R&D operations at Bagsvaerd, one of Novo's primary locations in Denmark, which was expanded late last year with two new offices for administrative staff.

Novo Nordisk has earmarked 550m Danish krone ($100m) in funding for the new 2,700 sq m facility, which is due to start shortly and complete in late 2016. It will initially house one purification line but will have the potential for another line to be installed, doubling capacity.

The unit will be operated by Novo Nordisk's Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) Supply division, which is due to undergo significant expansion over the next few months with around 100 additional staff due to be hired, according to its head Jesper Bøving.

Added to that, the new purification pilot plant will "create up to 35 new jobs over a two-year period," he said.

The announcement comes after a tricky period for Novo Nordisk, which saw a big hole blown in its late-stage pipeline last year after the US FDA issued a complete response letter for Tresiba (insulin degludec) and Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart), two products at the heart of its growth plans.

The setback delayed the drugs in the US by around two years and prompted a reshuffle of priorities at the Danish drugmaker, including a renewed focus on promotion of Levemir (insulin detemir) - which lags behind arch-rival Lantus (insulin glargine) from Sanofi in the market - and the reallocation of resources from manufacturing into R&D.

Earlier this year Novo Nordisk's chief executive Lars Rebien Sørensen described the company's pipeline as "running on all cylinders", with a series of new diabetes candidates coming through development.

These include Tresiba-based combination therapy IDegLira, which incorporates insulin degludec plus liraglutide (the API in GLP-1 agonist Victoza), a revamped version of fast-acting insulin product NovoLog/NovoRapid (insulin aspart) and long-acting GLP-1 analogue semaglutide.

14th March 2014

From: Sales

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