An Irish pharmaceutical-services company has completed and begun moving into a new North American headquarters on a 40-acre site in Souderton, Montgomery County.

Almac Group Ltd.'s $120 million, 240,000-square foot complex will combine its current Pennsylvania operations in Audubon, Montgomery County, and Yardley, Bucks County.

The facility will incorporate three of Almac's five divisions in the United States. In announcing the project in October 2007, Almac said it would add 262 jobs within three years. In the last 12 months alone, Almac has hired 173 people, said Rich Moore, Almac's U.S. director of human resources.

Two-thirds of the workers have moved into the headquarters, where the total head count will be about 800, and eventually as many as 1,000, Moore said.

When Almac's founder, Sir Allen McClay, announced plans with Gov. Rendell, he said Pennsylvania was his choice because "it's quite a center for pharmaceuticals."

"We've come here not just for the money. The money is very good, but for the people," McClay said. "We find in Pennsylvania very good, high-caliber people. To get that is very important."

Almac, based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, received about $9 million in state funding, including about $6 million in grants, a $2 million low-interest loan, and almost $900,000 in job-training funds and tax credits.

The privately held company will consolidate clinical trials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and technology in the new location in Lower Salford Township.

Almac's founder McClay, who died Jan. 12, had previously founded an Irish pharmaceutical company, Galen Ltd., in 1968. After retiring from Galen, he bought four Galen business divisions in 2001 to form Almac.

Almac chief executive officer Alan Armstrong said in June that the new North American headquarters "marks a significant change. For the first time, the people and processes necessary for successful integration of clinical supplies, testing, and technology will be working together, hand-in-hand, in real time."

Almac employs nearly 3,000 in Europe and the United States and has five business divisions. The headquarters will consolidate the clinical services group with about 550 employees in Audubon, and the clinical technologies group, which employs 275, in Yardley.

Almac, with $750 million in revenue in 2007, aims to be a one-stop shop for drug-development services - everything from discovery, commercialization, manufacturing and production, to clinical trials.

The company said it provides services to more than 600 major pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies worldwide, including Merck & Co. Inc., GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., Novartis AG, and Pfizer Inc. It works in therapeutic areas including cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular disease.

Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or lloyd@phillynews.com.