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Almac Expansion to Add 79 Jobs in Durham

By Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer

Almac Group, a global contract research organization (CRO) with 288 employees in Durham, has announced a $5.2 million expansion that will create 79 more jobs over the next three years.

“Due to significant industry demand for our range of services it is essential we expand to ensure Almac can continue to compete at a global level,” Almac CEO Alan Armstrong said in a news release. “Our presence in Durham has experienced tremendous success, and we are excited to make a further commitment to the area, signifying our confidence in the pool of talent and skill right on our doorstep. We appreciate the support provided by both the State of North Carolina and the City of Durham and look forward to continued success in the region.”

The expanded operations in Durham will employ a broad range of positions in contract research and clinical trials management. Pay will vary by position, but the new jobs will average $69,979, nearly 5 percent more than Durham County’s overall average annual wage of $66,913.

“North Carolina’s improving business climate, talented workforce and role in life sciences contract research makes it the ideal location for a company like Almac Group,” said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. “Almac has bold plans for growing its clinical trials management businesses around the world, and they will do that from North Carolina’s Research Triangle.”

The expansion announcement comes six months after Almac opened a new development facility for companion diagnostics adjacent to its clinical services operation on Technology Drive. The new diagnostics facility was to employ 15 people initially but would add more, a company representative said at the time.

Companion diagnostics are medical tests that are typically paired with a specific drug. They help doctors prescribe and monitor the most effective treatments and dosages, tailored to an individual patient’s specific genetic makeup and health profile.

Almac Group’s expansion in North Carolina was made possible in part by a performance-based grant of up to $77,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which supports local governments in creating jobs and attracting economic investment. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for grant funds. All One NC grants require a local government match.

“Almac Group joins a long list of contract research organizations that have made North Carolina a top destination for companies engaged in clinical trials,” said state Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla III. “Nothing speaks more powerfully to the quality of our workforce and business climate than global companies like Almac announcing they will expand and hire here.”

Almac, based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, is a privately held, global contract development and manufacturing organization providing a wide range of services to the worldwide biopharmaceutical industry. It employs over 4,500 people at facilities in Asia, Europe and North America, including facilities in Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

In addition to the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the General Assembly, the N.C. Community College System, the Department of Revenue, the City of Durham, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Durham County.

Almac’s expanded presence in Durham adds jobs to the state’s robust CRO industry, which includes about 130 companies employing 21,000 people in the state and tens of thousands of others around the globe.

CRO companies support pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and research institutions with a wide range of services, including biopharmaceutical development, diagnostics development, commercialization, preclinical and clinical research and clinical trials management.

A study of the state’s life science landscape by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice says this specialized field of outsourcing is one of six emerging life science technology sectors in North Carolina that are likely to flourish into the future. 

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