One of Northern Ireland’s most successful businessmen, Sir Allen McClay, has died at the age of 79.
Sir Allen died yesterday at the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia where he had been receiving treatment for cancer.
He is survived by his wife Heather, who he married in the US in November.
The multi-millionaire industrialist and philanthropist was chairman of Craigavon-based company Almac, which he founded in late 2001.
At that stage he had sold his original company, Galen Pharmaceuticals — which he had formed in 1968 — to a conglomerate in the United States.
McClay took Galen public on the London and Dublin stock markets in 1997, establishing the first £1bn company in Northern Ireland and a substantial personal fortune. The Sunday Times Rich List last year estimated his personal wealth at £190m.
Sir Allen was born and raised in Cookstown, the youngest of six children.
He qualified as a pharmacist in 1953 after completing his apprenticeship and ran a pharmacy for two years before being approached by Glaxo in 1955 where he worked for 13 years as a medical sales representative.
In September last year Sir Allen threw his weight behind cancer research when he launched the McClay Foundation, a charitable trust that works with Queen’s University and Invest NI to advance the treatment of the disesase.
The trust donated approximately £20m to Queen’s, including a £10m contribution to a new library and funding a £4m Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Centre at the university’s Belfast City Hospital campus.