April 07, 2020
1 min read

Alcon a “nimbler company” since spinoff from Novartis, president says

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ATLANTA – Alcon is now able to bring more products to the market and provide better support to clinicians since its spinoff from Novartis a year ago, Sergio Duplan, Alcon’s region president, North America, told Primary Care Optometry News here at SECO.

“The promise of the spin was to not be part of a big pharma company so we could focus on eye care and medical devices, so we could be a faster, nimbler company,” he said.

“We underestimated how difficult it would be,” Duplan added. “The parent company did things very well – IT support, treasury, taxes, legal support – and now we have to do that ourselves, but we’re getting there.”

He said that during a spinoff, “the timelines are tight. It’s like trying to fix a plane while in flight.”

New Alcon product launches seemingly insignificant to the Novartis bottom line now “move the needle,” for Alcon, Duplan said.

“Since the spin, we have new launches that would not have been possible otherwise. We used to say, ‘Just give me something to launch.’ Now I’m saying, ‘Slow down!’,” he joked. “It’s a good problem to have.”

Duplan listed some of the Alcon products launched over the past year: over-the-counter Pataday (olopatadine HCl ophthalmic solution/drops), Systane Hydration PF, Precision1 daily disposables and the iLux MGD Thermal Pulsation System.

“Pataday OTC was launched 17 days after it received FDA approval,” Duplan told PCON. “We had to manufacture the product in advance at risk. We had to negotiate beforehand to get retail shelf space. We needed to beat allergy season. Retailers were so excited about the product; they were willing to work with us. We bought TV spots 6 months ago to get a good rate. This was a good example of our speed as a nimbler company.”

Duplan looks forward to the launch of a toric version of Dailies Total One and multidose Systane Hydration preservative-free.

“We have more than 100 projects in research and development internally and we look at inventions happening outside the company,” he said. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO

Disclosure: Duplan is employed by Alcon.