Five minutes at Informex with
Garrett Hoge, Director of Business Development – Sciences, at Almac Group
PH: Almac Sciences has enjoyed many years of strong growth. Is that still continuing?
Hoge: Absolutely – we have had an exceptionally strong year building on our strong reputation for delivery and quality. We are continuing to experience high demand for our chemistry & biochemical solutions across both intermediate and API development services and their subsequent supply.
PH: What has driven that growth?
Hoge: Simply, growth has come from the tireless delivery of complex and multi-disciplinary projects for our customers! High quality, communication and technical excellence is key to our customer and to their project success. These key attributes have resulted in us having major growth across all of our service offerings including biocatalysis, chemistry, solid state, analytical and manufacture.
In addition, we have expanded our capacity to deliver advanced intermediates commercially from kg through to tonnes from the acquisition of Arran Chemical Company based in Republic of Ireland
Having access to large scale commercial manufacturing assets has transformed how we apply our [biocatalysis] technology. We have the ability to run complex chemistry and biochemistry to production scale and all the analytics in place to demonstrate the product meets the desired chemical and optical purities as set by our customer.
Prior to the acquisition we had been a partner with Arran for more than 6 years tech transferring multiple projects so it made perfect sense for us to acquire the company, both in terms of its location, a two-hour drive away for our global HQ and the complementarity of their scale and non-GMP operations to our GMP operations. Additionally, Arran’s business development (BD) was somewhat limited at that time, but now Arran’s capabilities can take advantage of Almac’s global BD exposure.
The acquisition has been amazingly successful for Almac and the continued synergy between the production capability and technology developed within Prof. Tom Moody’s group will further reap rewards for the teams in Ireland and more importantly for our customers’ project successes.
PH: So what is the next big challenge?
Hoge: We need to expand our GMP API production and capability in line with our formulation business. The formulation development business is currently expanding rapidly into a bespoke facility based in Charnwood, UK, and is preparing for all necessary inspections. In general we are busy, expanding rapidly, but need to invest in this key area to keep in front of business and industry trends.
PH: Have there been any major developments lately?
Hoge: In addition to the success of the Arran acquisition and application of biocatalysis, the chemical development and API manufacturing business has grown from grass roots to a significant double digit percentage of the overall Group’s revenue. We are very proud within Sciences that we are achieving such success for the overall group.
We are seeing more and more integrated projects across the Almac businesses, including API production, formulation and packaging. The customers benefit from a single site, single team, and it is easier for them to manage.
PH: How has this show been for you, as a company solidly rooted in pharma but still on the Informex part of the floor?
Hoge: I don’t see any great differentiation between the CPhI and Informex elements. The show is clearly bigger than it was as Informex and we have had an incredible number of meetings – mostly pre-booked but surprisingly quite a number of walk-ups compared to previous years. This is one of our major shows in the US. I think the location in Philadelphia helps to draw pharma people from New Jersey and New England. I love New Orleans but it’s not where the pharma industry is…!