CLAYTON,Novo Nordisk moved a major step closer toward expansion of its insulin manufacturing plant in Clayton on Thursday.

The company said it had hired BE&K Engineering and Suitt Construction for the 19,000 square foot expansion of the plant. The project will cost $12 million and is expected to be completed in early 2004.

Novo Nordisk said the expansion is needed to meet a growing demand for insulin with some 17 million Americans suffering from diabetes.

Novo Nordisk: