Bausch + Lomb to expand manufacturing in Rochester, Ireland

Bausch + Lomb will be building out its manufacturing lines for contact lenses at its Rochester and Ireland facilities. (WHAM photo - file)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - With a new vision to keep the company competitive, the Bausch + Lomb Rochester plant is expanding and creating new jobs.

As one of Rochester's oldest companies, Joe Hart, Bausch’s site operations executive director, admitted the company, along with the city, has had its ups and downs with ownership changes and job cuts.

“Rochester has always struggled to get investment in it, especially since Bausch Health that was (formerly) Valeant that took over,” Hart said.

A new product and renewed hope for the company is coming into focus. Innovative daily disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses called SiHy will soon be manufactured out of the N. Goodman Street plant.

“We've really been able to prove what we're capable of doing and demonstrated we can get the job done, so this is big for Rochester,” said Hart.

SiHy was recently rolled out in Japan. Bausch expects it'll be launched in the U.S. over the next few years.

To meet high demand from around the world, Bausch + Lomb is expanding by adding more production lines and about 100 new jobs.

“That is a testament to where we're going as a community,” said Mayor Lovely Warren (D-Rochester). “The fact that we're all working together to build opportunities for our residents, so they have a fighting chance for our families.”

The Rochester plant currently employs more than 1,000 people. Most of the new jobs will be in manufacturing. It’s welcoming news for Arthur Manning of Rochester.

“That makes me feel great,” he said. “That might be a whole lot of jobs out there for a lot of people that need jobs and work.”

The project is made possible in part with an investment from the state. Part of the Excelsior Investment Tax Credit program, a total of $3 million in tax credits will help ensure Bausch + Lomb's future in Rochester while boosting the economy.

“This means there's confidence back, that companies that have been a long-time part of our community are not just here but continuing to grow,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-New York. “It's all about good paying jobs. Companies like this are the smart ones surrounded by world class universities that create the employees that are well positioned to step into these important jobs.”

The state funding is conditional, and will be available when the new jobs are created.

The expansion project is expected to start later this year and wrap up in 2022.

“I hope this doesn't end the capacity of expansion,” Hart said. “I hope this is the beginning.”

Bausch + Lomb’s contact lens manufacturing site in Waterford, Ireland is also expanding.

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