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Nephron hits milestone in plant construction


Construction workers placed the last steel beam to the entrance of the 473,000-square-foot plant Nephron Pharmaceuticals is building at the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park. (Photo/James T. Hammond)
Construction workers placed the last steel beam to the entrance of the 473,000-square-foot plant Nephron Pharmaceuticals is building at the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park. (Photo/James T. Hammond)

By James T. Hammond
jhammond@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 28, 2013

With her parents and numerous Lexington County officials looking on Wednesday, Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy presided over the symbolic raising of the last steel beam to go in place over the entrance to the 473,000-square-foot plant Nephron is building at the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park.

Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy
Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy speaks at the construction site of the company's future plant.(Photo/James T. Hammond)
Despite rain that has turned the work site into a bog, Kennedy said the project is on schedule to be finished in the first quarter of 2014. And she said the work that will start up in the plant next year already has been expanded well beyond the scope that was envisioned when the project was announced 15 months ago.

The original plan called for four production lines. Kennedy already has ordered equipment for eight production lines. And the building under construction in Lexington County has space for expansion that could accommodate two more production lines, if needed.

Kennedy was cautious about projecting growth in employment numbers. When the project was announced she and her husband Bill Kennedy predicted employment would exceed 700 in 10 years. On Wednesday, she said she expects that number to go “much higher” and in far fewer than 10 years.

Kennedy said business opportunities have been growing since Nephron announced plans for the plant, as word has spread over the Internet and potential customers for Nephron’s products have contacted the company. Interest in the company’s production potential has been coming from potential customers worldwide, she said.

And, Kennedy said, the possibilities of research collaboration with the University of South Carolina also has been growing, as she has gotten to know Don Herriott, the director of Innovista partnerships and a former head of Roche Global Chemical Manufacturing. With his background in the pharmaceutical industry, Herriott has been a frequent adviser about new business possibilities for Nephron, Kennedy said.

“I really have high hopes for our research program, and collaboration with USC,” Kennedy said.

Reach James T. Hammond at 803-401-1094, ext. 201.

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