Pharmaceutical Company SC Continues Expansion in Lexington County | Colombia Business

COLOMBIA – The expansion of Nephron Pharmaceuticals is progressing as production kicks off in a series of new commercial ventures – from home COVID-19 test kits to chemotherapy drugs.

Since 2020, the West Columbia drugmaker has invested $215 million to build its campus in Lexington County’s Saxe Gotha Industrial Park. In the past month, the company has hired 1,500 new part-time workers as it ramps up production of new product lines, CEO Lou Kennedy said, bringing it to 1,200 full-time employees and 2,500 part time.

The hiring spree comes as Nephron produced 30 million reagent doses for Abbott Laboratories’ home COVID-19 test kits last month and assembled around 1 million kits. Kennedy hopes to increase production of the kits to 2 million a month in January as demand for them has skyrocketed amid new variants of the deadly virus.

“As we see new variants seem to be spreading and are very, very contagious, we know we need to do more testing,” Kennedy said.

President Joe Biden announced plans Dec. 21 to provide 500 million free rapid test kits as the omicron variant spreads across the country, shipping the hard-to-find kits directly to people’s homes.

In addition to testing for the virus, Kennedy said she is finalizing a long-awaited proposal with a leading COVID-19 vaccine maker to fill syringes in a new 200,000 square foot warehouse on the Nephron campus. Kennedy first announced her desire to add a line of vaccines in July 2020 in anticipation of demand, but she had yet to win a production contract.

In addition to its coronavirus-related work, Nephron has also installed equipment in a new 110,000 square foot wing where it will begin manufacturing chemotherapy drugs and a number of antibiotics.

“I’m really excited about this decision because it will allow us to enter into these three categories of drugs,” Kennedy said.

Historically, Nephron has focused on generic respiratory medications and approximately 125 sterile medications that are in high demand in hospitals nationwide.

Finally, the company completed the roofing of a new manufacturing facility for nitrile medical gloves.

The idea for the plant came after U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., visited Nephron in May 2020, touting its plan to move production of pharmaceuticals and healthcare supplies to the United States. United from abroad. Kennedy latched onto the suggestion, announcing Nephron Nitrile in July 2021.

The new factory, which will manufacture 3 billion gloves per year, is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

“It’s critical that South Carolina lead the charge in bringing production of vital drugs and supplies back to the United States,” Governor Henry McMaster said during the plant’s announcement.

Kennedy went further, saying Nephron will also manufacture some of its own medical devices, items it currently imports. She calls the spin-off Inject EZ.

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“Right now we buy our syringes from Switzerland and Germany,” she said. “We are going to open our own business where we will manufacture our own syringes, rubber stoppers and plungers.”

“I have a few more tricks up my sleeve,” Kennedy said. “We plan to announce future expansion as soon as we complete all of these projects.”

For now, Nephron is hiring another 500 to 1,000 part-time workers.

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