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AP, LTW

DIRHAM, N.C.- Sir Allen McClay, founder of drug giant Almac, has died at a Philadelphia hospital. He was 77.

, which has two operations in Durham touts itself as offering “the most comprehensive range of integrated drug development services available to the pharmaceutical / biotech industry.”

Privately held, Almac’s headquarters are based in Northern Ireland. The company employs some 2,500 people worldwide.

An official with the company’s suburban Philadelphia division says McClay died Tuesday morning at Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was being treated for cancer since falling ill during a November business trip.

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

Almac has U.S. offices in Yardley, Pa. and San Francisco as well as Durham.

McClay was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Heather.