The Almac Group has today (Thursday) announced details of an £80 million investment programme to build new extensive manufacturing, production and diagnostic laboratory facilities at its Global Headquarters in Craigavon.
The construction of these two significant facilities will create over 550 jobs locally, spanning a range of lab and non-lab-based roles, with recruitment already commenced for some positions.
This is part of the company’s international recruitment drive which is expected to create 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland over three years.
The expansion, which is part of the global investment programme announced in 2022, will significantly grow operations for two of the Group’s business units, Almac Pharma Services and Almac Diagnostic Services.
Almac Pharma Services supports the development and commercialisation of new treatment options for a wide range of therapy areas including oncology and immunology. Almac Diagnostic Services offers a range of biomarker discovery, development and commercialisation solutions to Biopharma partners globally.
The first of these two major projects is a 100,000ft2 state-of-the-art multi-product Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility for Almac Pharma Services.
This Centre of Excellence for manufacturing will house a custom designed dispensary area, multiple production suites, process equipment wash facilities and a lineside warehouse for ambient, refrigerated and frozen storage. The new facility will primarily support solid oral dose products, complementing Almac’s existing capabilities in this area.
The facility, which will be operational from Q3 2024, will expand Almac Pharma Services’ existing manufacturing capabilities and offers additional capacity for further strategic production contracts. The high-specification production suites have been designed with flexibility and a wide range of uses in mind which offers opportunities for clients to install bespoke technology specific to their individual needs.
The second project is a 40,000 ft2 four-storey diagnostic development and manufacturing centre for Almac Diagnostic Services which will be completed by Q1 2024. The new facility will enable Almac Diagnostic Services to expand its assay development offering and to manufacture and distribute Companion Diagnostic (CDx) kits on a commercial scale to support growing client demand.
This expansion will enhance Almac’s existing early phase biomarker development capabilities through to assay development and deployment in clinical trials, cementing the company’s position in the market as a fully resourced partner of choice to pharma companies for manufacturing and commercialisation of companion diagnostics.
Alan Armstrong, Chief Executive of Almac Group said: “Almac is committed to re-investing all our profit back into the business.
“This £80 million expansion and the creation of 550 new, highly skilled jobs in Northern Ireland will ensure that we remain the global leaders in our industry, giving our clients and ultimately patients across the world who benefit from these therapeutics, the best possible offering from Almac.”
These projects have been supported by Invest Northern Ireland who have welcomed the development and ongoing expansion of the Almac Group.
Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth Group, Invest Northern Ireland said: “Almac’s commitment to innovation and excellence has positioned it as a cornerstone of our region’s Life & Health Sciences success story and supported it to build a world-renowned reputation for ground-breaking work in the global pharmaceutical industry.
“We are delighted to support this investment which is creating hundreds of employment opportunities in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area and will bolster Northern Ireland’s reputation as a hub for pharma and diagnostic development. We commend Almac’s dedication and vision and we look forward to witnessing the positive impact this investment will have on Northern Ireland’s economy and the advancement of life changing medicines.”
Alliance Upper Bann MLA Eóin Tennyson described the investment and jobs as “fantastic news”.
“This will be a huge boost to the local area, is a sign of confidence in the wider Northern Ireland economy, and will no doubt make a contribution to health outcomes globally,” he said.
“Northern Ireland now has a relative competitive advantage via dual market access provided for under the Windsor Framework. This is particularly evident and visible in highly regulated areas such as pharma.
“I wish the team at Almac every success with their expansion.”