Senator Schumer (l) and Valeant’s Mike Pearson.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.— Bausch + Lomb celebrated the opening of its new Ultra contact lens manufacturing lines and solar array assembly at the company’s Optics Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony here earlier this week on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The event recognized the expansion and installation of manufacturing lines that will use a new process to produce the company’s recently introduced Ultra monthly replacement contact lens, made with a new silicone hydrogel material, as reported in April by VMail Product Watch.

The array of 3,667 solar panels, which is currently under construction, will generate and supply electricity for the Rochester facility, helping to reduce its carbon footprint by 800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. A Bausch + Lomb spokesperson told VMail, “There is currently one manufacturing line installed in the Bausch + Lomb Rochester facility that is operational. This was the first line constructed to manufacture the Ultra contact lenses. There are two other manufacturing lines, which are in various stages of build, installation and qualification in preparation for launch. A fourth line is also in the planning stages. Together the lines will manufacture millions of contact lenses from Bausch + Lomb’s Rochester location each year.”

Cutting the ribbon were (l to r) State Senator Joseph Robach; Monroe
County Executive, Maggie Brooks; Senator Chuck Schumer; Mike Pearson, chairman of the board and CEO, Valeant Pharmaceuticals; Majority Leader Joseph Morelle; State Senator Ted O’Brien; Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon; and Assembly Member Harry Bronson.

In attendance at the ribbon cutting were U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Vincent Esposito from Empire State Development, on behalf of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and several other members of government and local business leaders.

“Our Rochester facility is a very important piece of our strategy to rebuild Bausch + Lomb as one of the leading contact lens producers,” said J. Michael Pearson, Valeant’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Our Rochester Optics Center is a first-in-class manufacturing site for contact lens manufacturing and distribution, and with the new contact lens manufacturing lines, we will add much needed production capacity to supply both current and future demand. I want to thank both Senator Schumer and the State of New York for their support of this project. ”

“Rochester’s Bausch + Lomb workforce invented the contact lens, and it’s only fitting that Bausch + Lomb’s next great lens innovation, Bausch + Lomb Ultra, will be manufactured in Rochester by 120 newly hired workers,” said Senator Schumer. “I appreciate that Bausch + Lomb’s parent company Valeant heeded my call last summer to build these new multimillion dollar manufacturing lines right here in Rochester . . . and not overseas. These new Bausch + Lomb manufacturing lines will help keep more than 1,000 good-paying, high-skilled jobs here in Rochester. All signs say Bausch + Lomb Ultra has the potential for massive growth, which will keep Rochester and its innovative workers at the forefront of growing this storied Rochester company for decades to come.”

Bausch + Lomb, one of the oldest continually operating companies in the U.S. which introduced the first soft contact lens in 1971, is a subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE:VRX and TSX:VRX), which purchased B+L in August 2013, as reported by VMail.