Belfast Telegraph

Almac invests £6.4m in US packaging operations

By Clare Weir

Co Armagh pharma company Almac has been congratulated by the new America Consul General in Northern Ireland for investing heavily in its interests in the USA.

Gregory S Burton, who has recently taken up the post in Belfast after completing a post in Afghanistan, toured the company's Craigavon site.

He was briefed on the latest investments on the continent, a market that represents around half of the company's total business.

Almac has recently poured $10m (£6.4m) into a new commercial packaging facility in Audubon, Pennsylvania which will open in the autumn.

The firm, which provides development services to more than 600 companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors across the world, is opening the 100,000 sq ft facility to service its customers across the USA.

The new factory has already been awarded contracts for two products that will exceed 1.5m bottles per annum.

Tablets and capsules will be manufactured in Almac's Craigavon facility and shipped to Audubon for commercial packing into bottles for distribution to the US market.

Around 10 staff manage the operation in Audubon, while around 20 people support the project from Northern Ireland and it is hoped up to 30 extra jobs will be created at the new plant by the end of the year.

Almac is also in the process of doubling the size of its analytical labs in its new North American headquarters in Souderton, Pennsylvania, which was opened last year by Senator George Mitchell.

Mr Burton said that Almac plays an important role in his home state of Pennsylvania and in Northern Ireland.

He added: "I was grateful for the opportunity to view their cutting-edge facility in Craigavon.

"The company's latest investment in the US underscores Northern Ireland's capacity to contribute to the global economy in high-value sectors like pharmaceutical development."

Graeme McBurney, Managing Director of Almac Pharma Services, said that the company was proud to be investing, especially at a time of restricted economic capital.

"With the alignment of our packaging processes at both our UK and US sites we offer the highest levels of customer service and continuity of supply, through a flexible and quality lead operation." he said.