Report: Novartis mulling sale of ophthalmology unit

As the Swiss company pivots to focus on core therapies, a report claims it is considering selling off its ophthalmology and respiratory units, with ophthalmology alone expected to bring $5 billion.

Novartis is considering the sale of some non-core assets in a likely drive to generate money to invest in new therapies, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

According to the report, any sales of the two units would not start until 2023, after the process to spin off its Sandoz generic unit is completed. Talks reportedly are ongoing and there is no certainty that any sales will happen.

In August, Novartis first announced plans to spin off the Sandoz generics unit as it directed its focus on the development of patented prescription medications.

In 2019, Novartis spun off the Alcon eye care business, and in 2021 sold approximately a third of its voting share in Roche.

The company continues to see successes in its ophthalmology pipeline.

In June, Novartis announced that the FDA had approved brolucizumab-dbll 6 mg (BEOVU) for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). The drug had been approved by the European Commission in April.

The company also announced June 20 it purchased Kedalion Therapeutics and its AcuStream technology.

Kedalion Therapeutics is a clinical-stage, venture-funded ophthalmic drug company based in California. The company announced the completion of its Series B funding—led by Novartis—in November 2021.

Novartis did not respond to Bloomberg News for its report.