Novartis to spin off eye unit Alcon

Novartis has announced plans to spin off its eye-care unit Alcon into a standalone entity.Assuming shareholder approval, the transaction is expected to complete in the first half of 2019.

“Our strategic review examined all options for Alcon ranging from retention, sale, IPO to spinoff. The review concluded that a spinoff would be in the best interests of Novartis shareholders,” said Novartis’ chairman Joerg Reinhardt.  “This transaction would allow our shareholders to benefit from potential future successes of a more focused Novartis and a standalone Alcon, which would become a publicly traded global medtech leader based here in Switzerland.”

The company’s ophthalmology pharmaceuticals portfolio – which made 2017 sales of $4.6 billion and includes the potential blockbuster RTH258 (brolucizumab) for neovascular AMD and diabetic macular edema – will not be included in the spin-off.