Disclosures: Endicott is the CEO of Alcon.
April 15, 2020
3 min read

Increased net sales, growing pipeline highlight Alcon’s first solo year

One year after its spinoff from Novartis, Alcon improved core profitability and launched PanOptix in the United States.

Disclosures: Endicott is the CEO of Alcon.
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Growing net sales, an expanding pipeline of therapies, and newly introduced and FDA approved technologies highlighted Alcon’s first year as an independent company.

The year saw a strong growth in net sales, reaching nearly $7.4 billion, up 5% from 2018, and the new product launch of PanOptix in the United States, David J. Endicott, CEO of Alcon, told Ocular Surgery News.

“Last year was a remarkable milestone in Alcon’s history. We completed our spinoff to become an independent company and delivered strong growth in net sales and improved core profitability. We achieved these results while standing up new functions, launching important new products and installing new, flexible Vision Care lines at several of our manufacturing facilities,” he said.

David J. Endicott
David J. Endicott

Economic growth

Alcon became an independent company in April 2019 after it completed a successful spinoff from Novartis. Alcon’s 2019 earnings report, released in February, showed it completed its third consecutive year of constant currency top line growth due to improvements in innovation, new product flow and strong commercial execution, Endicott said.

It was the company’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth. Core operating income increased by 11% on a constant currency basis and grew operating margins to 17.2%, up 80 basis points excluding foreign exchange, and generating $367 million in free cash flow, he said.

“In 2019, we did what we said we would do. We delivered solid financial results and achieved several important operational milestones. We’re harnessing the energy created by the spinoff and building even greater momentum through our transformation to deliver value to all of our stakeholders,” Endicott said.

Alcon’s introduction of the AcrySof IQ PanOptix trifocal IOL, the first trifocal lens for cataract surgery patients in the United States, was a highlight. Approved by the FDA in August 2019, PanOptix has been shown to deliver a combination of near, intermediate and distance vision while significantly reducing the need for glasses after surgery.

The lens is currently available in more than 70 countries and was also launched in Japan in 2019.

“PanOptix is a great option for cataract patients who want to see at near, intermediate and distance post-surgery. We’re seeing a phenomenal response to PanOptix, and the vast majority of PanOptix patients are now spectacle-free following cataract surgery,” he said.

The company also had 22 new product approvals in 2019, he said, and invested in its Ngenuity 3D visualization system, which is now available for both anterior and posterior segments.


2020 and beyond

Alcon will continue to drive its ophthalmic surgery pipeline forward in the next year, Endicott said. Continued investment and new product launches should position the company to deliver upon its growth aspirations. Longer term, this includes new IOL platforms that can accommodate or adjust.

Through the company’s digital health initiative, upgrades will be made to Alcon’s cataract equipment suite to create the most efficient planning and operating equipment for surgeons.

Alcon will continue to roll out its latest contact lens, Precision1, as well as the recently launched over-the-counter Pataday Once Daily Relief (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution 0.2%) and Pataday Twice Daily Relief (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution 0.1%) for U.S. consumers. The eye allergy itch relief drops will be available in more than 40,000 stores.

“We still have some areas where we can improve, specifically in our speed and agility as an independent company. That said, I’m really proud of what we’ve done since spinoff, and I give a lot of credit to our 20,000 associates around the world for making 2019 such a success. Moving forward, we believe we’re in a position of considerable strength and have a unique opportunity to build on our leadership in a large, attractive and growing market,” Endicott said. – by Robert Linnehan

Disclosure: Endicott is the CEO of Alcon.