As part of an overall expansion of Almac’s Craigavon, UK site, the company is investing £13.7m ($16m) between a non-GMP early stage development facility and its commercial manufacturing operations. Regarding the latter, Almac is adding blending equipment and an automated packing and integrated cartoning line to enable high volume bulk commercial manufacturing of a client’s laxative drug.
Graeme McBurney – President and Managing Director, Almac Pharma Services Business Unit – declined to name the drug in question for reasons of client confidentiality, but did tell Outsourcing-Pharma.com "it originally developed by Almac with the intent that it would ultimately be manufactured in a lower cost economy."
“However as sales of the product grew, additional manufacturing capacity was required to support the growth and new markets,” he continued.
“At that point Almac offered the client an option whereby investment in the technologies could address their market needs and do so at a cost which was competitive any alternative source.”
McBurney added the expanded technology will not be exclusive for this client and operations will commence in September with output being ramped up over the following 18 months.
According to the drugs.com website Almac manufacturers the laxative Laxido Orange on behalf of Galen Limited, which is also based in Craigavon. However, Outsourcing-pharma.com was not able to confirm if this is the product in question.
Craigavon site is Almac’s main manufacturing base for commercial supply and thus was best placed for the expansion, according to McBurney.
The £13.7m investment includes £6.5m for the non-GMP facility focusing on tablet and capsule formulations for new drugs in early stage development that opened earlier this year.
At the time, Almac spokesperson David Downey told Outsourcing-Pharma.com the non-GMP expansion was to create between 50-60 additional positions over the next 2-3 years and therefore the rest of the 229 jobs announced by the company will cater to the contract manufacturing side of operations.
The announcement brings good news to the local economy and Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise in Northern Ireland, said: “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.”