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Posted July 23, 2021

 

West Columbia-based Nephron Pharmaceutical Corp. is launching Nephron Nitrile, a new company that will produce three billion nitrile gloves in its first year of operation at its Saxe-Gotha Industrial Park facility.

The gloves, a crucial piece of the PPE needed by medical, health care and other industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be manufactured in the newly completed Kennedy Innovation Complex, part of Nephron’s $215.8 million expansion at its Lexington County headquarters.

Nephron is teaming up with CeramTec, a global ceramic and medical technology company with North American headquarters in Laurens, to produce the gloves. CeramTec makes the forms used in molding the gloves.

Nephron owner and CEO Lou Kennedy, whose company faced supply chain issues in getting the PPE it needed to operate at the height of the pandemic, said Nephron Nitrile will help onshore future production, not just in America, but specifically in South Carolina.

“Here you have two South Carolina companies joining forces to create PPE statewide, just the exact way that (Sen.) Lindsey Graham talked about in his press conference from the Nephron lobby last year,” Kennedy told the Columbia Regional Business Report. “I am so proud of this.”

During a news conference today announcing Nephron Nitrile, Kennedy said the new business, which represents an investment of more than $100 million, is expected to create 250 jobs.

"This sends a signal to the nation and the world that South Carolina can be ground zero for the effort to onshore domestic manufacturing of PPE," Kennedy said. "We can do this."

Kennedy said her company has also entered into technology sharing agreements with leading South Korean nitrile glove manufacturers and is in discussions with the University of South Carolina and Clemson University to explore synthesizing nitrile, an organic compound.

Nitrile rubber is a nitrile-containing polymer used to make latex-free medical and laboratory gloves. Nephron Nitrile will begin producing the medical-grade gloves by early 2022, according to a news release from the company.

“If we can make the nitrile right here, then we would be 100% all U.S.-created,” Kennedy said.


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