Allergan originally announced a $200m (€175m) expansion to its facility in Waco, Texas, in 2016. The plan would have seen production capacity increase by more than 50% and created over 100 jobs to the local area.
However, with its second largest selling product, Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion), expected to face competition in 2018, local media reported that the expansion plans were now off the table.
A spokesperson for Allergan informed us that the company “has shifted [its] priority from expanding the Waco site to investing significantly in our existing operations.”
The Waco facility produces a number of the company’s eye care products, which includes Restasis and other products, including Lumigan and Combigan.
A complicated case
Allergan’s Restasis has faced patent litigation from rivals looking to produce generic versions, such as Mylan, Teva and Akorn, amongst others.
Mylan announced several months ago that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had allowed its inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, challenging Allergan’s Restasis patents, to go ahead.
This decision denied the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, to which Allergan had assigned the rights of six patents for Restasis, from preventing the IPR challenge on tribal sovereign immunity grounds.
This court’s ruling will see generic competition emerge for the product in the short-term, potentially by the end of this year. The treatment for chronic dry eye disease brought in sales of $298m million in the third quarter of this year.
Investment instead of expansion
Despite not going ahead with the expansion, the spokesperson affirmed that the firm “remains committed to our eye care business and operations in Waco.”
Providing an example of this, the spokesperson noted that the company has invested $180m between 2015 and 2018 though the improvement of development and production facilities.
The company is also hiring for approximately 45 positions for the facility, the spokesperson added.