Bausch + Lomb Corp.’s new line of multifocal silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses will be manufactured in Rochester. The lenses will be made at the company’s 1 million-square-foot Goodman Street office, research and development, and manufacturing complex.
An International Market Analysis and Research Group report says daily disposable silicone hydrogel lenses account for the largest share of the more than $8 billion global contact lens market. North America has the biggest slice of the global market.
IMARC puts Bausch + Lomb at the head of a pack of the 10-largest contact lens makers. The 10th-largest firm on the market research company’s list, Cooper Cos. Inc., has packaging and distribution facilities in Henrietta and a Scottsville manufacturing site.
Bausch + Lomb newly introduced one-day multifocal lenses are aimed at an aging cohort that needs to simultaneously correct multiple conditions like farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Current lines of multifocal contacts are not keeping up with the comfort and vision demands of many presbyopia patients, says Dinesh Guglani, Bausch + Lomb vice president and general manager of U.S. Vision Care. The firm’s new lenses are designed to minimize contact lens dryness. The line is currently available only in the U.S.
Founded in the mid-1800s in Rochester and headquartered here for more than a century, Bausch + Lomb, along with Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox Corp., was one of the three largest mainstays of this area’s economy through most of the latter half of the 20th century.
The company was acquired and taken private in 2007 by the New York City-based Warburg Pincus LLC in a $4.5 billion deal.
In 2013, Warburg sold the firm to Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $8.6 billion. Valeant chairman and CEO Michael Pearson, a onetime McKinsey & Co. consultant, rechristened Bausch + Lomb as Valeant. And in a move aimed at reducing corporate tax liability, he nominally relocated the Rochester firm’s headquarters to Quebec, but moved most corporate functions to Bridgewater, N.J.
After embarking on an acquisition spree, Valeant ran afoul of the SEC for allegedly pumping up revenues through a scheme in which it allegedly booked phony sales. The company was once again rechristened Bausch + Lomb. Joseph Papa, who served as its chairman and CEO from 2016 to 2022, announced his retirement last year, and stepped down in March. The firm rehired Brent Saunders, who led Bausch + Lomb under Warburg Pincus, to succeed Papa.
Since seeing reductions with layoffs and transfers of corporate jobs to New Jersey under Pearson, Bausch + Lomb’s Rochester employment has remained steady around the 1,200 mark. The company employs 1,600 at a contact lens manufacturing plant in Waterford, Ireland, and some 13,000 in various capacities globally.
The company’s stock (NYSE/TSX: BLCO) was trading Wednesday afternoon around $18.30, near the high end of its 52-week range of $12.20 to $19.96.
Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].