The new partnership, which is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland, will aim to develop new ways of determining 3D structures from X-ray data the analysis of which, as Almac explained, is a significant challenge in drug development.
“Through the use of current x-ray technology, it is necessary to generate a single crystal in order to extract such structural information. This is often problematic and the pharmaceutical community have been compelled to seek alternatives.”
The Craigavon, Northern Ireland-based contract research organisation (CRO) added that: “The combined expertise will be used to develop novel techniques which can advance the drug development strategies of our clients.”
The partnership fits with the gradual expansion of the contract solid state chemistry services business that the firm launched in October 2008 through its Almac Sciences division.
Almac also has something of a track record of working with academic institutions to access novel technologies having recently partnered with Northern Ireland’s Queens University Belfast to establish an “oncology hub.”
Green US plant
In other news, Almac has highlighted some of the environmentally-friendly features of its new under construction US headquarters in Souderton, Pennsylvania.
The 243,000 sqft facility will be one of the largest trial material manufacturing and supply plants in the world when it opens early next year.
This size, according to CEO Alan Armstrong, made consideration of the facility’s environmental impact a critical part of the project “to ensure that our facility will be seen as both friendly to our environment and to our new community."
He explained that, in addition to featuring floor to ceiling windows to utilize natural light and minimize heating bills, the plant has a custom blind system “to adjust to five different positions and move as the sun does, heating and cooling each part of the building to reduce energy use.”
Armstrong went on to say that the plant, which has a white roof to improve cooling, will use reclaimed water, have non-occupancy automatic lighting with energy efficient bulbs.