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Irvine-based drug maker Allergan Inc. has moved Latisse, its eyelash grower, into the second phase of clinical testing for baldness, according to a Bloomberg report.

Chief Executive David Pyott said the company is looking at Latisse versus a placebo in both men and women, and expects to see clinical data by the middle of 2012.

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The Food and Drug Administration generally requires three stages of trials before approval.

Latisse was approved in 2008 and accounted for $82 million of Allergan’s $4.9 billion in 2010 sales. It came about after Allergan researchers found out that bimatoprost, the active ingredient in glaucoma drug Lumigan, stimulated eyelash growth as a side effect.

The trials of Latisse for baldness follow a familiar Allergan pattern of discovering various uses for key drugs. The company found that its Botox drug smoothed wrinkles as a side effect of treatments for various other conditions. That led to the introduction of Botox Cosmetic in 2002.

Botox has since been approved for use in treating certain types of severe migraine headaches, with other uses undergoing testing.