Winter 2018 Catalyst
Beginning over half a century ago with the pioneering vision of one man, Sir Allen McClay, and his unwavering belief that one company — Almac — could make a substantial contribution to the world of healthcare.
50 Years of Impact
In 1968, at the very outbreak of the Northern Irish troubles, Sir Allen McClay began building what is now known as the Almac Group, with the objective to strategically develop and expand a world-class group of companies operating in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. As an established contract development and manufacturing organization that provides an extensive range of integrated services, Almac offers products and services in the areas of R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialization, API manufacture, formulation development, clinical trial supply, Interactive Response Technology and commercial-scale manufacturing. Though internationally headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, Almac also operates in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Asia, as well as across the United States.
To mirror the quality of services conducted in Northern Ireland, in 2008 Almac chose to make a long-term investment in Pennsylvania’s future by breaking ground on a 40+ acre site located in Souderton, Pennsylvania. With a shared commitment to building strong communities and partnering to advance human health, the current day campus is a 240,000 square foot integrated facility, housing employees from three of Almac Group’s global business units including Clinical Services, Clinical Technologies and Sciences. With the help of more than 1,500 dedicated personnel across three locations in Pennsylvania, the company’s global employee count has steadily risen from 2,000 to 5,000 and has become a magnet for talent and innovation within the life science arena. Of the 112,000 people employed in the life sciences industry in Pennsylvania during 2016, Almac alone contributed to over 1 percent of the total, with expectations for that percentage to continue growing in time.
From 2016 – 2019, the Almac Group will add more than 300 jobs in Montgomery County as part of its expanding operations in Souderton, PA, and double their physical presence in Lansdale, PA. More than $24.4 million is committed to the expansion, which includes new machine lines, computer equipment, software, and an expanded cold storage area. In addition, more than $5.2 million has been invested in an expansion that will create 79 more jobs over three years at its Durham, North Carolina operations.
With five business units, the Almac Group stands to partner with companies in key areas of a drug’s pharmaceutical development from inception through commercialization:
Almac is uniquely positioned to partner with clients in making their products successful. In 2016, Almac contributed to 50 percent of all New Molecular Entity approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The team’s one-on-one approach is designed to offer a client more than a product — it is designed to craft a long-term partnership and accommodate a range of services with flexible options.
Almac’s Audubon, PA facility provides novel packaging solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries by offering primary packaging for solid oral dosage forms and customized secondary labeling, in addition to packaging for all biopharmaceutical presentations. Having identified a business need in the U.S. for a flexible, quality led commercial packaging service provider, the company expanded its established EU commercial packaging operations with a recent $10 million investment in a new state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot commercial facility at the Audubon site.
The high and low throughput packaging operations provide flexibility and efficiency in the processing of both large-quantity marketed products and niche / orphan drug products; with many client partners benefiting from its Rapid Launch services that have the ability to pack and distribute valuable drug product within 24-48 hours of FDA approval.
Continuing to meet the increasing need of specialist packaging solutions for biopharmaceuticals, Almac recently designed, engineered, and installed an innovative Semi-Automated Packaging System to label and pack medical devices. This new technology provides a streamlined and efficient semi-automated process for the packaging of multi-component products, allowing Almac to meet growing U.S. client demand for commercial kit assembly.
Almac ONE — One View and Delivery of the Digital and Physical Supply Chain
The Almac Group works with all 25 of the top biopharma companies worldwide. Part of its commitment to advancing clinical trials, through all phases, is a focus on collaboration between its Clinical Services and Clinical Technologies business units. Almac ONE is an industry leading solution addressing the complexities and intricacies of a fragmented supply chain adapting to dynamic changes within clinical trials by delivering one platform to merge the physical and digital supply chains to most accurately and efficiently treat patients.
As professionals working within the clinical supply space, identifying and ensuring sufficient supplies are treating all patients is the highest priority. It is challenging to manage clinical trials given the international nature of studies, growing number of clinical sites, drive to reduce waste, expensive biologics, and hard to acquire comparator products. When working with external partners and vendors, there are significant additional complexities to consider: how much time is spent coordinating Interactive Response Technology and supply chain vendors; ensuring alignment of multiple vendors; and, creating integrations and resolving issues.
By utilizing Almac ONE, clients can improve performance of their clinical studies and optimize their clinical supply link to patient demand. Targeting financial savings and improved patient care, a single view of the clinical supply chain is being managed by Almac Supply Chain experts who understand the challenges companies face and can expertly bridge the gap between GMP, GDP, and GCP.
The Future of Innovation
Almac has the ability to bring cutting-edge innovation and services as a contract development and manufacturing partner for pharmaceutical companies that continue to make the Philadelphia region, and Pennsylvania, their home. By supporting its greatest asset — skilled employees — Almac offers direct solutions to improve people’s health and wellness. Every dollar made and every job created is allocated towards bolstering Almac’s product and service offerings. By expanding operations in the U.S. and Northern Ireland, Almac is committed to worldwide growth by broadening innovation and job opportunities. The future of the company and the industry is bright — the number of clinical trials continues to increase and the company is well positioned to support such growth. Almac Group’s history is shaped by forming relationships, and that goal remains at the core of Almac’s future as the company celebrates 50 years of partnering to advance human health in 2018 and beyond.
Richard Segiel is vice president of business development for Almac Clinical Services.
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