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Allergan Marks Opening of R&D Center

Company promises to offer hundreds of jobs in Bridgewater.

, with the promise of hundreds of jobs coming to Bridgewater, opened its doors in the Somerset Corporate Center off Commons Way Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting that featured senators, congressman and the lieutenant governor of New Jersey.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Rep. Leonard Lance and Sen. Robert Menendez were on hand to mark the ribbon-cutting, along with Bridgewater representatives, to celebrate the opening of the new research and development facility.

"As we increase our investment, we will be counting on our new colleagues with ones all over the country," said David Pyott, Allergan's chairman of the board, president and CEO. "We are excited about our future and what we can deliver."

Allergan, with its main headquarters in California, has a presence in more than 100 countries with about 10,500 employees worldwide. The company is a multi-specialty health care company, which was established about 60 years ago.

The company began as an eye-care company, and now focuses on many medical specialties, including eye care, neurosciences, medical aesthetics, medical dermatology, breast aesthetics, obesity intervention and urologics.

Perhaps Allergan is best known for its innovation in Botox.

After opening a small office in Bedminster in 2008, its new research and development facility in Bridgewater will be focused specifically on clinical development.

Guadagno said Allergan's move to New Jersey is all part of the state's Partnership for Action, which has three prongs, the first of which being privately funded with the marketing arm of the state working to convince big companies to come out to the state.

The second part, Guadagno said, is the bank of New Jersey, and the third is mostly her job in welcoming these kinds of businesses and making it easier for them to open.

"When a company like Allergan comes to New Jersey, they call one person, me," she said.

"When we are in your way, you pick up the phone and you call me, and we will at least get you an answer," she added. "You may not always like the answer, but at least you get an answer, and that's what business people need."

Howard Turbowitz, economic development officer for Bridgewater, said after the ribbon cutting that the town is already home to 21 pharmaceutical companies, among them , Johnson & Johnson and .

"Allergan is now one of the largest," he said. "And we have quite a few of the largest in the country."

But for Bridgewater, the opening of the company means the opportunity to employ more residents, as well as people from other towns.

"They will come to enjoy what Bridgewater has to offer," Turbowitz said. "It is a testimonial to the town bringing these companies here. We are highly educated, with one of the best school systems in the country."

Turbowitz said this just feeds into everything Bridgewater already has, and brings economic development.

"I have one of the easiest jobs, when Allergan comes and suddenly I get 20 more calls for businesses," he said. "I love to sell Bridgewater because I'm also selling Somerset County and New Jersey."

At this point, Turbowitz said, the most important issue in the upcoming election will be job growth, which applies to revenue growth in the township and so much more. And bringing in a company like Allergan, he said, is one step toward a positive outcome for the township.

"We are bringing in companies that are bringing in lots of jobs," he said. "It means so much on all levels."

"I only wish we had more space," he added.

But with a great school system, one of the largest malls in the center of town and so many pharmaceuticals, Turbowitz said the township is just at the top of its game.

"There is so much available," he said.

Bridgewater Township Council President Allen Kurdyla said Allergan just brings benefits to Bridgewater as a leader in pharmaceuticals.

"About 50 percent of its employees are in research and development, and that makes a stronger commercial base for us," he said. "We welcome them with open arms."

Kurdyla said he sees this as a benefit for both residents of Bridgewater and residents of nearby towns.

"It's a win win for everybody," he said. "We hope to make it a long term benefit for the community."

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