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Lens-maker Alcon to invest $275M, add 300-plus jobs in Atlanta expansion

Monday, October 5, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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Alcon Laboratories will invest about $275 million and create more than 300 jobs at its Metro Atlanta campus.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based eye care-products maker will boost production of several contact lens products at its Johns Creek campus. Atlanta beat out Singapore and Germany for the expansion.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to announce the economic development project on Thursday. Alcon declined to disclose details of the expansion prior to the Oct. 8 announcement.

"The site’s growth is a reflection of our innovation and continued growth in the contact lens industry, as well as the many benefits that operating in the state of Georgia provides,” an Alcon spokeswoman said in an e-mail Sunday evening.

The Alcon investment is the second phase of an expansion Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported in December 2012. Phase 1, which involved a $250 million investment and 340 new jobs, was completed last year. That expansion also included construction of a 70,000 square foot addition to Alcon’s manufacturing plant.

Alcon, owned by Swiss health-care company Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS), employs 1,700 at its 850,000-square-foot campus in North Fulton, where it does research and development, and manufactures its DAILIES brand and other contact lenses.

The Johns Creek campus, one of the largest private employers in the city, had been Ciba Vision headquarters until Alcon merged with Ciba Vision. Alcon has added more than 550 jobs at its Johns Creek campus since 2013.

The contact lens business is part of Alcon’s vision-care division. The company is expanding its surgical products, focusing on the intraocular lens market and is developing products aimed at cataract surgeries and to treat glaucoma. In addition to Atlanta, Alcon does contact lens manufacturing in Des Plaines, Ill., and in Indonesia, Singapore and Germany.

Georgia is an attractive destination for life sciences-based manufacturing, whether it be pharmaceuticals or medical devices, because the region’s technical and research schools produce a steady supply of skilled talent. Access to a globally connected airport and the the port in Savannah make the region an indispensable logistics hub for a manufacturer.

Metro Atlanta has attracted several major healthcare-related advanced manufacturing projects in recent year. Baxter International Inc. built a $1 billion plasma fractionation plant in Covington, Ga., that employs more than 1,500 and Osmotica Pharmaceutical Corp. invested $20 million in an R&D and manufacturing plant in Marietta. Meanwhile, Seattle-based Dendreon Corp., picked Atlanta’s south side for a cancer treatment manufacturing plant.

The Johns Creek area has nearly 2 million square feet of health-care related space, including health-care providers, medical device manufacturers, health-care information technology companies and health services firms.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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