Alcami, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company started in Wilmington 40 years ago, is expanding its facilities in the Port City and around the state.
Alcami performs a suite of services for outside pharmaceutical companies. Its CEO William Humphries compared it to a three-legged stool. The three legs are the company's drug lab operations, bio-storage and validation and calibration — basically quality control. Its locations include Wilmington, Research Triangle Park, Charleston, St. Louis and two locations in New England.
Of Alcami’s campuses across the eastern U.S., it employs the bulk of its employees in Wilmington, Humphries said. The company expanded one of its Wilmington facilities by 20,000 square feet in October between its packaging and warehouse storage space.
Stability chambers, used to ensure the correct storage environment for pharmaceutical products, are becoming a key offering for Alcami, Humphries said. The stability chambers in the Wilmington facility were filling up, so the expansion allowed for that service to continue to grow.
Alcami uses its Wilmington campus for analytical development, stability, microbiology, routine testing, oral solid dose manufacturing and formulation development along with packing and labeling.
"We have a whole building that's almost entire laboratory space where we do some of our biggest and best testing,” Humphries said. “From analytical testing to microchemistry, release testing — super important. That location is really strategic.”
He plans to keep the Wilmington campus at 2320 Scientific Drive growing in both space and personnel. Humphries said he sees strong hiring out of Wilmington to continue. A large portion of local hires are University of North Carolina Wilmington graduates.
The pharmaceutical CDMO, or Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization, has also recently expanded its bio-storage business by acquiring Massachusetts-based Masy BioServices in 2021, Humphries said.
Since then, Alcami took that bio-storage business back to its home state of North Carolina, breaking ground on a 65,000-square-foot storage facility in Garner. Humphries said he hopes to capitalize on companies that don’t account for warehouse and storage space in their plans for new offices.
The Garner facility will be able to accommodate many different storage requirements for different drugs, from room temperature storage to large tanks of liquid nitrogen to store human cells. Humphries expects to move the first pallet of storage materials in late December.
As for what will be stored at the facility, it ranges from packaging components like tubes and bottles that can be stored at room temperature to active pharmaceutical ingredients used in drugs, Humphries said.
Bringing the New England facility down to the Research Triangle area was motivated by the number of offices Alcami has in the state, and its access to the Port of Wilmington, airports in Raleigh and Wilmington and the slew of highways intersecting the area.
Other areas of expansion for the company include injectable drug manufacturing, Humphries said. Injectable drugs have been dominating the news cycle lately, as Ozempic, an injectable initially intended to help those with type 2 diabetes, has been found to help in weight loss. Another injectable, Wegovy, is specifically marketed for weight loss and has been equally touted in the media.
Alcami works in both small and large-molecule medications, Humphries said. The Wilmington lab specializes in small-molecule, or meds in pill form, but elsewhere Alcami manufactures medication that needs to be injected, which is categorized as large-molecule.
Humphries said he wants to be ready to meet injectable demand as these drugs saturate the market. Alcami can help large pharmaceutical companies manufacture these drugs to conduct clinical trials and help small and mid-size companies mass manufacture large molecule, injectable drugs, he said.