Allergan to enlist new hires in R&D expansion

After other pharma players have slashed thousands of jobs in New Jersey, Botox maker Allergan ($AGN) has ambitious plans to swell its ranks with the opening of a new R&D facility in the Garden State. The news comes amid a major push at Allergan to expand the use of Botox far beyond fixing facial wrinkles and to develop therapies for a variety of ailments.

Irvine, CA-based Allergan aims to build a 93,000-square-foot R&D expansion in Bridgewater, NJ, with the help of $14.9 million grant awarded last year from the state's economic-development authority, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. The timing and exact number of new jobs planned at the Allergan facility was unclear, though the newspaper wrote that the facility was expected to bring 400 jobs to the state.

FierceBiotech left a message for Allergan to seek clarification, as it wasn't clear how many of the 400 new jobs would be for R&D positions and other roles at the new facilities.

Allergan--which is known for Botox and products such as the Lap-Band obesity device--hit $1.6 billion in Botox sales last year and aims to expand use of the product in new indications such as a blockbuster use treating arthritis. The company, which about 10,000 employees in 100 countries, has many developmental projects in the pipeline in the fields of neurology, ophthalmology, dermatology, urology and devices.

"As a multispecialty health care company, a critical component to our business is the scientific innovation derived from the work of our R&D facilities throughout the United States," Allergan Spokeswoman Cathy Taylor said, as quoted by the Star-Ledger. "The expansion of our facility in New Jersey will enable us to further enhance our product pipeline and advance our pursuit of novel medical therapies for patients."

- see the Star-Ledger's article