Grifols to up capacity in North Carolina; starts making Covid-19 therapy

Grifols SA says it will spend $351.6 million to build a plasma facility and logistics center in Clayton, North Carolina.

The investment – which was announced by the office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper – will create 300 jobs when the facility is operational.

Operations at the new site will be focused on fractionation, the process of separating different components from blood plasma harvested from donors across the US.

Image: iStock/Milenius

Grifols said the additional capacity will help cater for growing demand for plasma derived medicines.

The Barcelona, Spain-based biotherapeutics firm operates plasma collection centers across the US, 13 of which are in North Carolina.

Doug Burns, president of Grifols Therapeutics said “Our new state-of-the-art fractionation facility will help meet the growing demand for plasma-derived medicines in the United States and around the world.”

COVID-19 candidate

News of the North Carolina investment came days before Grifols’ Clayton site started production of a treatment for patients infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The drug is anti-SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune immunoglobulin with specific antibodies that is derived from the plasma of people who have overcome the disease.

According to Grifols the drug is “the first specific drug developed to combat COVID-19.”

Grifols is developing the treatment in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA), other healthcare agencies.

The co-development deal also includes support for preclinical and clinical trials required to determine treatment efficacy.

The first doses the anti-SARS-CoV-2 are expected to be available in July 2020 as part of a clinical trial.

Spain trials

In related news Grifols is moving forward with a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin to stabilize or improve the condition of COVID-19 patients.

Grifols said, “The trial aims to assess the action of neutralizing antibodies, as well as determine the immunomodulatory potential of immunoglobulins as therapy to block the cytokine storm in patients with severe cases of COVID-19.”

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