Almac, one of Northern Ireland's leading businesses, has secured planning permission for major expansion plans that could potentially see the company create over 500 jobs during the next five years.
The global company, which provides integrated research, development and manufacturing services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies internationally, has experienced a substantial rate of growth at its Craigavon headquarters. Anticipating future growth requirements, Almac has acquired an adjacent 5.4ac site and will shortly embark on the first phase of development there.
In 2008 staff numbers in the UK rose by 15% to 1,426 and in the US by 10% to 762. The company also announced the creation of 128 new graduate and research positions in the first two months of 2009.
The initial phase of the planned further development will see Almac construct a large three-storey office unit to accommodate over 220 existing staff and expected recruits. For the second phase of expansion the company has obtained outline planning permission for a new research facility as well as a new distribution unit to expand existing capacity.
The plans are expected to lead to additional posts across the group comprising a mix of administrative and support staff as well as a significant proportion of graduate positions.
Group chairman Sir Allen McClay said: "This is an exciting time for Almac. Since our foundation in 2001 we have grown at record levels, and we expect this trend to continue over the coming years. With our rapid rate of growth it was important to put proper plans in place and provide the necessary room for Almac to expand."
Speaking on a recent visit to Almac Northern Ireland Economy Minister Arlene Foster said, "Almac is now one of the most respected, innovative companies operating in the highly competitive global pharmaceutical industry. Under the vision and leadership of Sir Allen McClay and his highly skilled research teams, Almac has rapidly become a significant player in the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors."
As well as the continued construction of its new $112 million North American headquarters, over the past eighteen months Almac has invested around £10m at the Craigavon site in a new laboratory block and a specialist cold storage facility for clinical trial materials.
When completed the new facilities are expected to represent another capital investment on a similar scale.