NI pharmaceutical firm Almac involved in Covid-19 vaccine hunt

Craigavon-based company involved in ‘emergency trials’ in US and other projects

Arlene Foster and Almac chairman and chief executive Alan Armstrong in 2014. Photograph: William Cherry/Presseye

Arlene Foster and Almac chairman and chief executive Alan Armstrong in 2014. Photograph: William Cherry/Presseye

 

Almac, the Craigavon-headquartered pharmaceutical group, has confirmed it is involved in 11 separate “crucial research projects” with several organisations into Covid-19 treatment options.

The company, which provides a range of services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, said these projects included vaccines and potential treatments for symptoms of the coronavirus.

Due to confidentiality agreements, Almac has not identified any of the companies it is working with but it has said they include “a variety of global pharmaceutical, biotech and research institutions”.

The Northern Irish group, which has its EU headquarters in Dundalk and employs 5,600 people across 18 facilities throughout Europe, the US and Asia, says that “as the global coronavirus crisis continues to escalate, the need to find a solution is greater than ever”.

“We are supporting this urgent research need through a range of services across our business units, including analytical services, peptide development, expedited interactive response technology support and clinical trial manufacturing, packaging and distribution,” the company said.

Emergency trials

The pharmaceutical group said it was also in discussions with its clients about doubling the number of coronavirus-related research projects it was supporting.

In the United States, Almac’s clinical technologies division said it was also involved in supporting companies involved in “emergency clinical trials”.

Almac said these trials involved ascertaining the “efficacy of investigational medicinal products and commercially pre-approved medicinal products” that could reduce the impact of the Covid-19.

Valarie Higgins, president and managing director of Almac Clinical Technologies, said: “We hope that our singular focus on the rapid delivery and support of interactive response technology used in clinical trials will prove to be a catalyst in advancing the research and data acquisition efforts that are urgently needed.”