Grifols opens US$370m plasma production plant in Clayton, NC in the US

The North Fractionation Facility will produce six million litres of plasma a year by 2015

Grifols, a leading producer of plasma-derived medicines headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, has opened a US$370m North Fractionation Facility (NFF) in Clayton, NC, in the US, where it will almost double production capacity of plasma from 3.2 to approximately six million litres a year by 2015. The NFF will be fully operational next year and employ more than 200 people.

Grifols' products are used to treat rare, chronic diseases such as neurological disorders, immune deficiencies, haemophilia and genetic emphysema.

The company is the largest private employer in Johnston County, NC with a total of 2,300 employees across the State. The company also has a corporate office and manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles, CA, testing labs in San Marcos and Austin, TX and 150 plasma donation centres across the US. Additionally, the company has manufacturing facilities in San Francisco, CA producing antigens for immunological diagnostics, as well as the Grifols Academy of Plasmapheresis, an education and training facility headquartered in Glendale, AZ.

Grifols employs more than 9,600 people in total in the US, representing approximately 73% of its 13,200 employees worldwide. Sales in the US reached €1.71m in 2013, or 62.3% of the company's total turnover.

The US has always been one of the company's most important markets

'As a leading healthcare company, one of Grifols' main goals since being founded in the 1940's has been to advance the plasma industry,' said Victor Grifols, President and CEO of Grifols.

'Today, I take great pride in our pioneering spirit that has allowed us to build the world's largest and one of the most innovative plants producing plasma medicines.'

He added that the US has always been one of the company's most important markets and investment of more than $7bn since 2001 in the country demonstrates its long-term commitment to growth.

The NFF was recently named the 2014 Facility of the Year for Project Execution by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

The 155,000ft2 facility features technologically advanced systems and processes to ensure the highest standards of product quality and high production capacity in plasma fractionation.

The company will invest more than €600m in its American and European plants over the next two years

Fractionation is the first step in the production of plasma-derived drugs, which involves subjecting plasma to various changes of temperature and chemical conditions, causing each of the proteins with therapeutic properties to separate out. These proteins have to be purified and formulated before they can be used as medicines.

The medicines manufactured by Grifols from plasma include immunoglobulin, for the treatment of primary immune deficiency and a neurological disorder called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP); factor VIII, for the treatment of haemophilia A; albumin, to re-establish and maintain blood volume; and alpha-1 antitrypsin for the treatment of genetic emphysema.

Grifols said it would invest more than €600m in its manufacturing facilities in the US and Spain over the next two years. A substantial portion will go towards the expansion of the albumin purification plants in Los Angeles, CA and Clayton, NC, and also towards a new warehouse at the Clayton complex, while construction of a new alpha-1 antitrypsin purification area in the Parets del Vallès, Barcelona complex is one of the main projects in Spain.

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