Almac Group Announces Four-Year PhD Scholarship at UCL

March 8, 2021

Unique academic /industry collaboration supports discovery of novel enzymatic alkylation technology

Craigavon, Northern Ireland – 08 Mar 2021 – Almac Sciences, a member of the Almac Group, has announced its collaboration with University College London (UCL) aimed at investigating the use of enzymes for selective alkylation.

The exclusive programme builds on their strong relationship, first announced in 2013, and will see Almac co-fund a BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Biosciences PhD Consortium (LIDo) iCASE PhD scholarship over the next four years to investigate selective alkylations using enzymes.

Alkyl groups can have a significant beneficial effect on the physicochemical and biological properties of bioactive compounds. However, it is very difficult to achieve selective alkylation reactions using traditional synthetic approaches and toxic reagents are typically used. Enzymatic alkylation provides a highly valuable alternative method using a specific class of transferase enzymes. They are particularly useful enzymes for the regioselective alkylation of compounds as well as the diversification of compound libraries.

Almac is interested in developing the use of these transferase enzymes in selective alkylation reactions with the aim of constructing novel enzyme cascades for the sustainable synthesis of structurally diverse compounds.

Lead academic at UCL, Prof. Helen Hailes says ‘We are very excited to continue to work with Almac Sciences on the discovery and application of transferase enzymes for the selective derivatisation of pharmaceutically relevant compounds and for incorporation into enzyme cascades.

This latest development demonstrates Almac’s ongoing commitment to innovation as it continues to engineer its technology platforms for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life sciences and fine chemicals sectors. This investment comes just weeks after the company announced it had completed a £5 million R&D centre within which its multi-million programme to accelerate enzyme discovery (INSIGHTTM) is currently underway.

Professor Tom Moody, VP Technology Development and Commercialisation, Almac Sciences and Arran Chemical Company commented: “We have a strong track record working with UCL that spans more than a decade and look forward to working with Helen, and her new PhD student, Matthew Salinger. I wish Matt every success in his studies and look forward to our first publication together as we welcome him to our new custom-built technology centre at our global headquarters.”


About Almac Group

A unique culture delivering exceptional solutions

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.

Its innovative services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, analytical services, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organisation which has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5,600 highly skilled personnel across 18 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia.

To keep up to date with latest news, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn or visit


Back to news