Al­mac buys BioClin in cross-bor­der ex­pan­sion

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Mar­garet Can­ning

NORTH­ERN Ire­land phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Al­mac Group has snapped up a con­tract lab­o­ra­tory here as part of con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion.

The firm is thought to have spent a mul­ti­mil­lion pound sum on buy­ing BioClin Lab­o­ra­to­ries in Athlone.

It’s the lat­est ex­pan­sion for Al­mac Group in the Repub­lic af­ter it bought Ar­ran Chem­i­cal Com­pany, also in Athlone, two years ago. The BioClin deal adds 35 peo­ple to Al­mac’s work­force of around 3,500.

Last year, it an­nounced the open­ing of a new site at the IDA Busi­ness Park in Dun­dalk as part of its Brexit plan­ning.

But a spokes­woman said the lat­est deal had “noth­ing to do with Brexit” and was part of “global ex­pan­sion”.

“BioClin is lo­cated around 10km from Ar­ran so the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties and skills are there.”

She said the premises would be within the ‘an­a­lytic ser­vices’ sec­tion of Al­mac. BioClin car­ries out an­a­lyt­i­cal ser­vices and data re­port­ing to sup­port drug de­vel­op­ment in Gar­rycas­tle.

“Adding BioClin’s highly com­ple­men­tary an­a­lyt­i­cal ca­pac­ity and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise to our ex­ist­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, along with in­vest­ment in nearby Ar­ran and the open­ing of our new lab in Craigavon, means that we can broaden our ser­vice of­fer­ings and ad­dress our global clients’ grow­ing de­mands for a high qual­ity, in­te­grated, ef­fi­cient ser­vice,” said Al­mac Sci­ences MD Stephen Barr. THERE is a “huge op­por­tu­nity” for Ire­land to be at the lead­ing edge of the emerg­ing cy­ber-se­cu­rity in­dus­try, Tá­naiste and En­ter­prise Min­is­ter Frances Fitzger­ald told del­e­gates at a lead­ing in­dus­try con­fer­ence in Dublin yes­ter­day.

The cy­ber-se­cu­rity in­dus­try em­ploys around 6,000 peo­ple here, and the top five world­wide se­cu­rity soft­ware com­pa­nies have op­er­a­tions in Ire­land, Min­is­ter Fitzger­ald said at the Dublin In­for­ma­tion Sec 2017 cy­ber-se­cu­rity event hosted by In­de­pen­dent News and Me­dia (INM).

The ever-in­creas­ing threat from hack­ers means there is an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a self­sus­tain­ing cy­ber-se­cu­rity ecosys­tem here, one where indige­nous small and medium en­ter­prises and multi­na­tion­als could work to­gether, the Tá­naiste said.

This rep­re­sents a chance to make Ire­land a real cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in this space, she added.

The key­note speaker at the event, Jeanette Man­fra, who is US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for the Of­fice of Cy­ber Se­cu­rity and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, told del­e­gates that “in­dus­try is re­ally on the front lines on this…

The chal­lenge for in­dus­try is to un­der­stand sys­temic risk from a cy­ber per­spec­tive.”

Del­e­gates at Dublin In­for­ma­tion Sec, spon­sored by eir Busi­ness, a Cisco Gold Part­ner, heard a panel of Ir­ish and in­ter­na­tional cy­ber­se­cu­rity spe­cial­ists high­light risks and pro­pose so­lu­tions to se­cu­rity breaches and in­fec­tion.

The event was chaired by Adrian Weck­ler, Tech­nol­ogy Ed­i­tor at INM.

Ex­pert ses­sions in­cluded: look­ing in­side the head of a hacker; im­prov­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s se­cu­rity health; re­sponse and de­fence; GDPR; Brexit; the US gov­ern­ment ap­proach to cy­ber-se­cu­rity and man­ag­ing risk; and whistle­blow­ing.

Eth­i­cal hacker Mike G told busi­ness lead­ers bluntly that em­ploy­ees re­main the big risk to data sys­tems. “The weak­est part of se­cu­rity is us,” he said.

Mike G, who helps or­gan­i­sa­tions fight cy­ber threats, said that hu­mans are very eas­ily hacked while bad sys­tems de­sign and in­se­cure poli­cies leave in­di­vid­u­als peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions vul­ner­a­ble.

Spoof­ing texts, calls and emails are among the most com­mon ways in which peo­ple and com­pa­nies can get hacked, he said.

The out­go­ing chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer at the HSE and chief of­fi­cer at eHealth Ire­land, Richard Cor­bridge, said staff in Ire­land had worked through the week­end in May this year in re­sponse to the so called Wan­naCry ran­som at­tack, which tar­geted med­i­cal sys­tems across Eu­rope, no­tably the NHS in Bri­tain.

“With Wan­naCry it was clear we had to act quickly.

“Had some­thing like this landed on a Sun­day night in au­tumn with flu and the week ahead it could have taken years [for the HSE] to re­cover,” he said.

“We mo­bilised 38 peo­ple to work the week­end and made sure the el­e­ments un­der threat were pro­tected,” Mr Cor­bridge said, but the big­gest fear for him was whether in­di­vid­ual hos­pi­tals and GPs would be im­pacted.

“The worst case sce­nario for the HSE was that we lost any hos­pi­tals – the Ir­ish health­care sys­tem can­not af­ford for any hos­pi­tals to close their doors,” Mr Cor­bridge told the au­di­ence.

Pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures taken by the team that week­end in­cluded tak­ing down the ex­ter­nal email for the whole of the HSE to pro­tect it from Wan­naCry.

In the end only one HSE fa­cil­ity, in Wex­ford, was af­fected, he noted, adding that af­ter the in­ci­dent the HSE has a bet­ter way of han­dling such events.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.