CRBR: Nephron Nitrile glove plant holds grand opening in West Columbia

December 8, 2022

Nephron Nitrile, a new company in West Columbia that produces nitrile gloves, held the grand opening of its manufacturing facility on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The ceremony attracted leaders from the Midlands as well as around the state, including Governor Henry McMaster, Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey and state Senator Nikki Setzler.

Lou Kennedy, owner and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, was inspired to launch Nephron Nitrile in 2021 because of the pandemic-related supply chain shortages and high prices for the gloves, which are an important component of personal protective equipment used by health care workers, food service employees and others. The new plant will enable people to get gloves made here in the U.S. rather than relying on supplies from China and India.

The gloves are produced at the Kennedy Innovation Complex, Nephron’s facility in the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park.

The plant currently only has one manufacturing line up and running but eventually as many as 14 will be in operation, company officials said. Nephron Nitrile will eventually be able to produce 2.5 billion gloves a year and employ 250 people.

Producing the gloves also involves other companies from around the state. The molding forms for the gloves are made by CeramTec, a ceramic and medical technology company with North American headquarters in Laurens.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals produces and manufactures generic inhalation solutions and pre-filled, sterile syringes through its 503B Outsourcing Facility. Its CLIA-certified lab, which conducted COVID-19 testing for its employees and workers at neighboring businesses, ran low on PPE as the pandemic disrupted global supply chains.