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Gov. Hassan visits P. J. Noyes, now part of Nipro Diagnostics

Kevin Sullivan of Lancaster, who was hired by P. J. Noyes shortly before Thanksgiving 2013 had a chance to meet Gov. Maggie Hassan while COO Dennis Wogaman looked on. Sullivan said, happily, "I learn something new on the job every day. (click for larger version)
February 19, 2014
LANCASTER — P. J. Noyes was acquired from owners David and Sarah Hill of Lancaster in Aug. 2013 by the Nipro Corporation, headquartered in Osaka, Japan, a worldwide company that has produced medical products for the healthcare community for over 50 years.

Friday afternoon, Gov. Maggie Hassan toured the manufacturing facility as part of her "InnovateNH" initiative, designed to highlight the importance of developing a robust workforce prepared for today's global economy that increasingly requires science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

In her recent State of the State address, Hassan announced that she would create a task force to help modernize STEM education.

P. J. Noyes, which has retained the use of its name, is part of a Nipro Corp. subsidiary: Nipro Diagnostics, Inc., located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that focuses on diabetes management to allow those with the disease to still enjoy life.

Nipro Diagnostics has nearly 60 scientists, engineers and associates on its Research & Development staff working to expand its product offerings, including newly patented ones, some of which will likely be manufactured in the local facility that is FDA registered and complies with a number of internationally accepted standards.

In recent years P. J. Noyes has produced liquids, lotions, gels, creams, and compressed tablets and capsules that are packaged in bottles, tubes, jars, pouches, and packets that are sold under other brand labels. Under the new ownership, however, the plant is expected to manufacture additional products that will be sold under Nipro Diagnostics' own label.

The longer reach of an international corporation has already resulted in more hires — six to eight full-time employees added to the payroll since August 2013 — as well as some internal promotions. Over 100 full-time employees are on payroll with another 10 to 12 part-time employees who work up to five hours at a time when there is a big order to fill. The day shift — 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — has more employees than the 2nd shift that ends at midnight. New hires include Dana Breault, Brian Vetanze, Kevin Sullivan, and Lorne Olson.

Senior Manager Production Operations Steve Skinner explained that this approach allows production to expand and contract, based on orders.

Jen Cusick, director of sales operations, pointed out that P. J. Noyes is capable of producing a broad array of diverse products.

Being part of a subsidiary of a large international company means that there is more oversight and standardization than previously, but also that five more paid holidays were added to the employee benefit package that continues to provide good health insurance coverage.

Nipro Corp.'s annual report for the year ending on March 30, 2013, states: "Nipro Diagnostics, Inc., manufactures and sells blood glucose meters and test strips for diabetic patients. Since its purchase in 2010, Nipro Diagnostics has used the Nipro global distribution network for its products, and as of March 2013 supplies products to 71 countries across the globe. This has led to a 23 percent increase in sales volume of blood glucose test strips in 2012, compared to previous fiscal year. While there are concerns over a reduction of average unit prices due to US health insurance reforms, we plan to counter this by reducing costs through changes to materials and boosting promotion of sales activities. Looking forward, we plan to build a more robust sales platform by developing sales promotion activities on a global scale."

Hassan donned a smock, safety glasses and a hairnet to tour the production lines in operation that afternoon. Machines on one line were bottling a tooth and gum tonic for the Dental Herb Company on Bridge Street that David and Sarah Hill retained that markets and distributes Truly Natural oral care products.

Because heating liquids is part of the manufacturing process for many products, this winter's high cost of propane has affected overhead costs.

Hassan said that the New England governors were working together to try to increase regional capacity, but that there is no short-term solution.

The P. J. Noyes Company was founded in 1868 by pharmacist Parker J. Noyes, who settled in Lancaster after serving as a Lieutenant in the Civil War, according to the company website. He opened an apothecary and began manufacturing various drugs in powder, pill, liquid, and ointment forms. These medicines were sold to doctors throughout New England, who in turn dispensed them to their patients.

Of particular interest during Lancaster's 250th anniversary year, Noyes brought the first electricity to Lancaster in 1885 and invented some of the first automated tablet manufacturing and coating machinery. At the turn of the 20th century, P. J. Noyes Company was one of the largest drug manufacturers in the country. According to its 1902 catalog, "Noyes Pectoral Syrup with Heroin should be placed at the head of cough remedies, as its sales far exceed all others combined."

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