Sir Allen McClay, founder of pharmaceutical giant Almac Group, dead at 77

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sir Allen McClay, head of drug giant Almac, dies

PHILADELPHIA — Sir Allen McClay, founder of pharmaceutical giant Almac Group, has died at a Philadelphia hospital. He was 77.

McClay died Tuesday morning at Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was being treated for cancer since falling ill during a November business trip, said Jim Murphy, president of the company’s clinical services division in suburban Philadelphia.

Last year he established the McClay Foundation, a charitable trust that works to advance cancer research.

Northern Ireland lawmaker Dr. Alasdair McDonnell called McClay “a great pioneer and a great visionary.”

“Allen was an honest, approachable, unpretentious and exceptionally generous man,” McDonnell said. “His death is a great loss not just to the entrepreneurial world but to Northern Ireland.”

McClay founded pharmaceutical sales and marketing company Galen Ltd. in 1968. He later folded the company into the Almac Group, a Craigavon, Northern Ireland-based company that employs 2,500 people in Britain and the United States.

Almac has U.S. offices in Yardley, Pa.; Durham, N.C.; and San Francisco.

McClay was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Heather.

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