Following the success of one of its key client partnered products, Craigavon-based pharmaceutical company Almac, has announced the commercial manufacturing expansion. Together with the recent completion of a new non-GMP drug development facility at the Craigavon site this dual expansion represents a total investment of £13.7million, which includes some financial support from Invest Northern Ireland. Over the next three years up to 229 jobs will be created across both projects.
The product, a laxative drug, which is contract manufactured by Almac, has recorded robust sales growth year on year throughout the UK and Europe. With existing facilities at full capacity and further demand forecast in a number of new markets Almac decided to focus all production in Northern Ireland with additional equipment and resources in Craigavon. The investment will deliver blending equipment, an automated packing and integrated cartoning line which will enable high volume bulk commercial manufacturing scheduled to begin in November 2013.
Also at the Craigavon site Almac is experiencing growth through the creation of a new 13,400 square feet formulation development facility and analytical laboratories. This facility focuses on the development of tablet and capsule formulations for new drugs which are in the early stages of development and which have not yet reached the market. The new "non-GMP" facility will enable greater speed in formulation and process development, by creating an environment where development work can be progressed quickly and efficiently, free of many of the constraints usually associated with drug manufacturing.
Graeme McBurney, President & Managing Director of the business unit explains, "The laxative product has been a great success in the UK and increasingly in European markets. The marketing and promotion of the product by our contract customer has been very effective and significant growth potential in several new territories such as China has been identified. Centralising and expanding our production in Craigavon will mean more cost effective manufacturing and optimal quality control and distribution."
"We are also delighted to see the completion of the new non-GMP facility on site which, alongside Almac's existing GMP capability, will enable us to operate with improved speed and efficiency in the early stages of projects. This latest addition makes Almac a much more attractive proposition to international clients who seek streamlined, one stop drug development solutions."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said, "This investment is good news for Craigavon and will reinforce Northern Ireland's position in the wider life sciences sector. The 229 new jobs will deliver almost £5.5 million annually in salaries, bringing an important and positive economic boost which will benefit local people."
"Almac has a reputation for excellence in the international pharmaceuticals sector and today's announcement will ensure that it remains in a competitive position and can continue to meet the needs of its global client base."