ALLERGAN

The Allergan plant on Mars Drive in Waco employs 640 people.

Waco’s Allergan plant continues to pump money into its operations on Mars Drive, confirming it will spend $7.5 million to renovate the first and second floors and install new processing equipment to make packaging.

“We will be producing new packaging for new and existing products, and we could see the need to hire more people by the third quarter of 2016 if demand for these products increases,” said Dermot Manton, vice president of operations.

The city of Waco last month issued a building permit for the proposed improvements.

Allergan, based in Ireland but with a major corporate presence in the United States, employs 640 people in Waco. Products made locally include high-profile brands such as Restasis, Refresh, Latisse and Lumigan for the eye-care industry.

Manton said items receiving new packaging in Waco “are for worldwide distribution,” but he declined to comment on the name or use of the new products, saying Allergan would release that information closer to the time they become available on the market.

Allergan in Waco primarily makes products for the treatment of dry eyes, glaucoma and skin conditions such as acne.

It celebrated its 25th anniversary of doing business in Waco last year, and has expanded several times.

Since the plant produces Allergan’s proprietary brands, it was not included in the proposed $40.5 billion buyout of Allergan’s generic pharmaceutical business by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries earlier this year.

That deal specified that Allergan would receive $33.75 billion in cash and shares of Teva valued at $6.75 billion. It reportedly would give patients easier access to affordable medicines, but still needs regulatory approval.

Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Allergan, said in a statement that the sale would help his company enhance its “global- branded pharmaceutical business and strengthen our financial position,” which would well serve Waco operations.

Allergan probably is best known as the producer of Botox, which counters wrinkles, among other uses. The Waco plant makes Restasis, a treatment for chronic dry eye that generated $1.1 billion in sales last year.

Manton, who oversees local operations, said the $7.5 million expenditure is part of a larger outlay Allergan announced in years past. In 2011 it said it would spend $89.5 million for a multiphase expansion of its complex.

The city of Waco and McLennan County approved financial incentives based on those projections.

Allergan last week completed a $2.1 billion cash transaction to acquire Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, a company involved in making products to improve appearance. Allergan now owns the rights to Kybella, a substance injected into the face to eliminate what is commonly referred to as double chin, according to industry news releases.

Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, calls Allergan one of Waco’s success stories and reportedly touts its presence in Central Texas when recruiting new industry.

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