Alcon Laboratories pharmaceutical products have been moved into the Novartis Pharmaceutical Division. The switch means a sharper focus on research and development in ophthalmology as well as better access to Norvartis’ patient services and support capabilities.
“The idea was to leverage the more than 70 legacy brands and expertise within Alcon with additional investment and support from Novartis,” said Melissa Liew, MD, vice president, U.S. medical head, ophthalmology. “There are still unmet needs in ophthalmology and hundreds of millions of people living with vision loss, 80% of which could be treated, cured, or prevented. Especially in the area of glaucoma, people are still going blind who could be treated.”
Dr. Liew explored the new face of Novartis Alcon Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ, during an Industry Spotlight session at the New Horizons Forum, held in conjunction with the 2017 Glaucoma 360 meeting. There are no immediate product announcements, but the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) is focusing on ophthalmology.
NIBR has more than 6,000 researchers, physicians, and support staff at multiple facilities in the United States, Switzerland, and China.
“Ophthalmology is fully embedded into the global NIBR network,” Dr. Liew explained. “There are more than 275 researchers working in ophthalmology in research and translational medicine. They are working on small molecules, biologics, stem cell therapies, gene therapy, and rare ophthalmic diseases. Novartis is fully committed to ophthalmology.”
The company is developing effective therapies to meet the needs of ophthalmology, Dr. Liew added. Major areas in the ophthalmology pipeline include glaucoma, geography atrophy, dry eye, and ocular inflammation. The goal is to build a complete portfolio for the front and the back of the eye to make a difference for patients.