PHARMACEUTICAL firm Almac are poised to create 500 new jobs.
The positions will be split between the company’s operations in Portadown and Pennsylvania in the United States.
They will run in conjunction with a £5.5 million development of new lab facilities at their Seagoe headquarters.
The company are set to spend £4.5m in what is the first phase of a planned expansion for the development of oral dose drug products, due for completion in mid-2012.
After that, phase two of the development will mean the construction of another two analytical labs which will be completed by the end of 2012.
Almac have confirmed the developments, but refuse to give any more details as it is believed the expansion is in a delicate negotiations stage with the government.
However, John McQuaid, vice-president of technical operations confirmed, “The new facilities will double our current pharmaceutical development capacity, allowing us to meet the growing demand for our services, both for new and existing clients.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson has congratulated the firm on the latest growth, describing the investment as “further evidence of Almac’s commitment to Craigavon and Northern Ireland”.
He added, “Almac continue to be one of the province’s premier companies and are known throughout the world for the excellence they deliver day in and day out.”
The latest developments are part of a legacy left by the late company president Sir Allen McClay who died in America last year when he was in the throes of setting up the Pennsylvania arm of the firm. Because of the unusual financial structure he created, the company is wholly owned by the McClay Foundation, which puts all the profits back into the company and protects it from takeover.
That structure has created many jobs and development over the years. The company started from scratch in 2002, and employed about 500 people five years ago, which will move to well over 3,500 when the new jobs are in place within the next 12 months.
Almac provide research and development facilities for many companies throughout the world, companies who prefer to outsource that end of their processes to a third party, and Almac are growing by leaps and bounds.
Despite the recession, Almac’s activities grew by 11 per cent in the past year. And while that is down on the 15 per cent of the previous 12 months, they are the envy of many in industry.