- Novartis's Alcon unit has struggled recently, troubled by falling sales and patent expiration. Sales have declined since 2014, most recently slipping 12% in the third quarter of last year, to $2.35 billion.
- CEO Joe Jimenez plans to announce a "growth acceleration program" for Alcon along with the release of quarterly results on January 27.
- Patent expiry of Alcon's glaucoma drug Travatan Z last month further compounds the unit's problems.
The list of problems at Alcon is extensive, including stalled surgical equipment sales, declining sales of intraocular lens implants, and lower-than-anticipated sales of OTC contact lenses.
Travatan Z, once a top-seller for treatment of glaucoma, lost patent protection last month and three other prescription drugs face generic competition. With a slow pipeline for new products, Alcon has become an albatross of sorts for Novartis.
Jimenez hopes that an innovation-driven program will help reinvigorate the Alcon unit as costs are trimmed elsewhere. Novartis recently sold off one of Alcon's plants in France.
Novartis bought its first stake in Alcon eights years ago before completing the $51 billion purchases in 2010.