Novartis is looking to breathe new life into its flagging Alcon business by transferring the unit’s drug products to the pharmaceuticals division.
The move, according to Novartis, will allow Alcon to focus on its core surgical and vision care business.
Alcon’s annual surgical sales have declined as a result of weaker performance in intraocular lenses and cataract equipment. Its vision care business has declined, due in part to slower contact lens sales.
Michael Ball has been tapped as the division head and CEO of Alcon, effective Feb. 1. Ball, who was CEO of Hospira until it was bought out by Pfizer, will replace current Alcon head Jeff George.
Ball’s expertise in ophthalmology — as well as medical devices — will be instrumental in accelerating innovation and growth at Alcon, said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.
In a research note, Larry Biegelsen of Wells Fargo says Novartis thinks Alcon’s performance will “remain challenged” during the first half of the year, but could turn around in mid-2016. — Michael Cipriano and Jonathon Shacat