Located at the company’s headquarters in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, the new non-GMP plant will focus primarily on lab-scale experiments, complimenting the existing GMP pharmaceutical development. The facilities will double current capacity and are, according to Almac, a necessity in meeting customer growth.
Almac Vice-President of Commercial Operations, David Downey, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com: “We have seen in excess of 20 per cent year-on-year growth in our formulation development services revenues and are expanding our capacities and capabilities to meet this strong demand.”
Almac have previously expanded to suit the needs of specific clients, investing in cold storage facilities and, last year, announcing an API expansion in response to a partnership with DSM Pharmaceutical Products.
However, this expansion is due to increased demand from a number of clients, rather than being in response to any particular company.
Downey specified that there has been an increase in demand for both potent tablet formulations and early phase development of liquids. Almac plans to use the facilities to deal with these trends on a small scale with batch sizes ranging between less than 1kg to 15kg, depending on the technology.
Formulations produced at the new plant can be scaled-up at the original GMP facilities which supports drug product manufacturing from Phase I up to commercial scale. Downey believes this gives Almac a clear market advantage over its competitors.
“Fast, flexible and, most importantly, scalable non-GMP solutions will be scaled up through the same project team and location onto GMP assets that can then service our Client’s clinical supply need, with the eventual aim of commercializing the product, also offered from Almac’s Craigavon HQ.”
Good news for job hunters
Non-GMP process development work creates both large sample sets and multiple stability studies. Therefore some of the $10.5 million (£6.5 million) investment has gone into doubling Almac’s analytical capacity at the site.
Such investment and expansion naturally breeds jobs and a boost to the economy. On offer, said Downey, are “50-60 additional positions in formulation and analytical development over a 2-3 year period,” enterprisingly adding: “we are hiring now, should your readers wish to apply!”