Belfast Telegraph

Drug development firm creates jobs

A Co Armagh pharmaceutical firm is to create 229 jobs.

Almac provides specialised drug development and manufacturing services to international medical and biotechnology companies.

The £13.7 million investment is across two core areas of the business at the Craigavon plant and government jobs creation agency Invest Northern Ireland has offered £2 million of support.

Almac Pharma Services president Graeme McBurney said: "Centralising and expanding our production in Craigavon will mean more cost-effective manufacturing and optimal quality control and distribution.

"The added manufacturing capability will enable us to operate with improved speed and efficiency, particularly in the early stages of projects. Ultimately, the investment will make Almac an even more attractive proposition to international clients who seek streamlined, one-stop drug development solutions."

A new development and analytical facility will be established for the company's pharmaceutical development service, creating specialised formulation drug testing, compliance and quality positions.

An expansion of a key production line used to manufacture a highly successful product for export markets will result in further skilled operations and manufacturing jobs, the business said.

Almac takes its customers' initial drug formulations and manufactures them on a large volume-scale for global markets. Drug testing and quality compliance ensures drug action is not negatively impacted by large-scale manufacturing and that full regulatory approvals are met, Almac said.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "This investment is good news for Craigavon and will reinforce Northern Ireland's position in the wider life sciences sector. 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.

"Almac has a reputation for excellence in the international pharmaceuticals sector and today's announcement will ensure that it remains in a competitive position and can continue to meet the needs of its global client base."

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