Fast-growing Novo Nordisk plans new hires as it blueprints U.S. HQ

Novo Nordisk is planning to renovate an old Merrill Lynch facility in New Jersey, making it into a new U.S. headquarters campus as it expands with hundreds of corporate and clinical development hires. Real estate developers are gleefully reviewing the developer's $215 million makeover for the 770,000-square-foot facility in Plainsboro, NJ, which the pharma company has agreed to lease for 15 years.

"Since 2007 the (U.S.) headcount has grown from about 2,000 to about 4,500 employees, and just in the Princeton area, it's grown to a little over 1,000 employees right now," Jeff Frazier, Novo Nordisk's corporate vice president of human resources, tells the Times of Trenton. And the HQ staff, a combination of corporate and clinical development, is expected to mushroom to about 1,300 by the time Novo moves into the building in 2013.

Novo Nordisk, which is primarily known for its diabetes drugs, has some ambitious plans for the structure. Workers will strip the building down to the frame and then rebuild it as a much greener facility. Local unions will help finance the building project. And local politicians from the governor on down were quick to tout the move as an endorsement of the state's zeal at building the life sciences industry.

"This smart renovation keeps us in New Jersey, reduces the impact on our employees as well as the environment, and allows us to meet the expanding need for our medicines," said Jerzy Gruhn, president of Novo Nordisk.

- check out Novo's release
- here's the report from the Times of Trenton