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Behind the Business: Novo Nordisk is Making a Difference in NC

Novo Nordisk opened the doors to its first U.S. manufacturing facility for diabetes medicines in 1993. Since that time, the facility in Clayton, North Carolina has expanded rapidly to meet market demands, both here at home and around the globe. It is here in North Carolina where many of Novo Nordisk’s insulin delivery devices are assembled and packaged for distribution to more than 14 countries, providing innovative diabetes treatments for almost 28 million diabetics worldwide. Now, the business has invested another $2 billion dollars to construct a world-class, new active pharmaceutical ingredient production facility that is on target to be operational in 2020 – one of the largest life science investments ever made in the history of North Carolina. In totality, this investment will add several hundred more jobs to its current 1200 workforce and support thousands of jobs during the construction process.

Producing innovative medicines for diabetes and obesity isn’t Novo Nordisk’s only forward-thinking approach to business. The new facility is currently pursuing a LEED Silver certification for the entire campus, achieving the highest LEED certification of any biomanufacturing facility worldwide. From spearheading water treatment infrastructure solutions and promoting sustainability as a good business practice to inspiring new foreign direct investments, Novo Nordisk is making a difference in the state.

Creating Regional Solutions for Water Treatment Infrastructure
Water is an important component to Novo Nordisk’s business. It’s also a resource the company believes is a basic human right. Given the global implications of water use, Novo Nordisk takes seriously the need to mitigate long-term water supply risks and optimize water use.

In treating the water used at the new Clayton facility, Novo Nordisk must pretreat its process wastewater to reduce nutrient loads acceptable for further treatment downstream. Thus, Novo Nordisk took it upon themselves to invest almost $40 million to construct a state-of-the-art wastewater pretreatment facility, designed with extra capacity and capabilities for other industrial users to consider tying-in.

Upon completion of the facility, Novo Nordisk donated the facility to the Town of Clayton, who unanimously voted to accept the pretreatment facility as a regional public infrastructure asset. By doing this, Novo Nordisk aims to support both the company’s short term needs as well as provide a platform for growth and economic development for the Town of Clayton and the Biopharma Crescent at large.

Promoting Sustainability in Manufacturing
Environmental responsibility is not just corporate speak for Novo Nordisk; it is fundamental to their business decisions. For two decades, Novo Nordisk has been bold in striving to achieve 100% renewable power in its production plants all over the world to minimize the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes. 
Earlier this year, the business invested $70 million in a 105-megawatt solar panel installation in Pender County that will generate enough renewable electricity to offset the consumption of all existing Novo Nordisk U.S. offices, laboratories and manufacturing facilities, as well as the new Clayton facility. 

By 2030, the company strives to have zero environmental impact, and truly be a Circular Company across their entire value chain with a Circular Supply and Circular Products. The company is designing products that can be recycled or re-used, reshaping its business practice to minimize consumption and eliminate waste. To learn more, please visit

Inspiring New Foreign Direct Investments in NC
As a Danish-based company, Novo Nordisk is proud of the role it plays as a job creator and contributor to America’s economy. Earlier this year, Novo Nordisk was among a handful of companies to partner with the Research Triangle Regional Partnership to host economic and commercial attachés from 13 European nations to highlight the assets that have made North Carolina, specifically Johnston County, a lucrative destination for international investment.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) supports nearly a quarter of a million jobs in North Carolina, a solid 8th place ranking in the U.S. for jobs created by these companies. Consequently, in 2017, Novo Nordisk partnered with the Organization for International Investment to host Governor Roy Cooper for a proclamation signing in recognition of North Carolina’s open investment policy, affirming its “commitment to ensuring an open, welcoming environment that supports investment from global companies” and promotion of North Carolina exports abroad.

Behind each business in North Carolina are the ideas, partnerships and people that fuel our state’s success. Behind each business is a story and a vision for the future. As the voice for business, the NC Chamber is committed to telling these stories and highlighting the organizations and people that keep our state moving forward. Behind the Business is a series of profiles featuring NC Chamber Cornerstone members doing great work in North Carolina. Interested in being featured? Contact