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Alcon Research Ltd. a Novartis company

Alcon Research Ltd. a Novartis company
Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better.

The company in detail


Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better. This mission means that the more than 24,000 Alcon associates strive to make significant contributions to preserve, restore and enhance vision.

Through the merger of Novartis and Alcon, uniting the strengths of Alcon, CIBA VISION and Novartis Ophthalmics into one eye care business, Alcon has become the second largest division of Novartis. With these collective resources and scale, Alcon now offers the widest spectrum of eye care products in surgical, pharmaceutical and vision care across 180 markets and runs operations in 75 countries.

From a child’s first contact lens for nearsightedness correction to her grandparent’s intraocular lens implantation for cataract correction, Alcon innovations help people of all ages see the world more clearly. Alcon products and technologies address growing clinical problems in areas, such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases, refractive errors, ocular allergies, dry eye, infection and inflammation, and many other eye care needs.

Alcon has more than 2,000 people dedicated to research and development around the world working to address the world’s most pressing eye care needs. Our dedication to eye care extends to professional education at a level unmatched in the industry.

Additionally, Alcon has a strong commitment to its partnership with eye care professionals and humanitarian organizations to embark on medical missions and other activities that address preventable blindness in the world’s most fragile communities. With many unsolved eye diseases and millions of people around the world without routine access to eye care, there is substantial work to accomplish. Building on many decades of expertise, Alcon is excited to continue advancing eye care and pioneering the next uncharted territories in the industry.


Alcon's leadership provides that path for us to do what we do best - develop eye care products.

We believe we are well-positioned for the future, with the right people, products and pipeline to serve emerging global markets in eye care. Our job as a management team is to translate these opportunities into financial performance that builds shareholder value over time. Most importantly, our goal is to support the Alcon team in its continued pursuit to be the first choice in eye care products and the most trusted eye care company in the world.


Alcon Headquarters

Alcon Laboratories, Inc.

6201 South Freeway

Fort Worth, TX 76134-2099


Partnering strategy/interests

Our pharmaceutical and surgical research operations are open to new ideas. As such, our operations don't limit the possibility of potential treatments by focusing on any specific area. We welcome ideas that could help us eliminate blindness worldwide. And because we are open to improving upon our existing technology, our door remains open to those leading-edge surgeons and technology companies around the world who know eye health best.

We recognize the speed in time-to-market with vision saving technology only increases when other scientists, technologists and researchers submit their ideas for the latest in surgical therapeutic tools. As such, we welcome global licenses and co-promotion agreements for marketed compounds, preclinical compounds, clinical compounds and surgical devices and technologies related to these areas of interest:

  • Cataract
  • Dry Eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Ocular allergy and inflammation
  • Ocular infections
  • Otic/Nasal
  • Refractive
  • Retina

Alcon Research & Development

Our Commitment to Helping People See Better

Alcon is passionate about ensuring patients have access to products that improve their vision, prevent blindness and address unmet medical needs in eye care. Identifying innovative eye care solutions that meet patient needs drives our product development process. We are committed to addressing these needs through industry-leading talent, a focused pipeline strategy and external partnerships.

Alcon is on a constant search for new materials, technologies and product designs to make eye care more effective and accessible to patients worldwide. The Company has been granted an average of more than 700 patents per year globally over the past three years. In 2011, Alcon was ranked #21 on Forbes Magazine list of Most Innovative Companies.1  

Our relentless quest for innovation has resulted in many industry “firsts,” including: 

·         AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® Intraocular Lens (IOL): the first multifocal IOL made of soft, foldable acrylic designed to make implantation easier for the surgeon and speed patient recovery time

·         INFINITI® Vision System: the world's first tri-modal cataract removal surgical instrument to offer surgeons the flexibility of three choices for cataract removal

·         LenSx® Laser:the first femtosecond laser cleared for use in cataract surgery – representing a breakthrough for image-guided laser refractive cataract surgery

·         PATADAYOphthalmic Solution (olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution) 0.2%: the first once-daily prescription eye drop for ocular itching associated with eye allergies

·         TRAVATAN Z® (travoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.4%: the world’s first benzalkonium chloride (BAK)-free prostaglandin analogue for the treatment of glaucoma for patients who are sensitive to BAK

·         LightStream® Lens Technology: breakthrough contact lens manufacturing technology that ensures excellent quality and reproduction for consistently high lens performance

·         Silicon Hydrogel Contact Lenses: first company to develop and commercialize silicone hydrogel (SiHy) contact lenses, the industry standard for its eye health benefits and highly breathable material

Our Investment

Over the next five years, Alcon plans to invest approximately USD 5 billion to discover and develop new treatment solutions for vision conditions and eye diseases.

This investment will help us get closer to realizing our mission of providing innovative products that fulfill unmet needs and enhance quality of life by helping people see better. Our goal is to eradicate preventable blindness and provide the best treatment solutions for any form of vision impairment. Our main research objectives are: 

·         Pursue further innovation in surgical instruments that increase patient safety and working in concert with skilled surgeons around the globe.

·         Expand pharmaceutical capabilities, decrease required dosages and increase efficiencies within the pipeline.

·         Develop contact lenses and lens care solutions that enhance comfort, visual acuity and healthy eyes.

A Dedicated Worldwide Team

Our commitment to research and innovation starts with our associates. We recruit and retain top talent from across the globe. We have 2,000 associates in 40 countries dedicated to product research and development.   

·         Largest group of researchers in the world devoted to eye care; more than any government entity

·         More than 400 physicians, Ph.D.s, and doctors of optometry, many with academic or practitioner backgrounds to complement commercial experience

·         Core Team model brings together project teams of functional experts in pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, marketing and other disciplines to accelerate product development  

With the Novartis merger, we’ve gained valuable access to additional research capabilities and resources to accelerate our discovery efforts. Alcon R&D partners with the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR), a dedicated, global pharmaceutical research organization focused on discovering innovative medicines that treat disease and improve human health. With NIBR discovery capabilities, we’ve expanded potential targets and have access to an extensive library of pharmaceutical compounds. 

Our Reach

Our scientists and engineers work with state-of-the-art technology in facilities around the world. Our global R&D facilities include:

·         Aliso Viejo, California: cataract instruments

·         Duluth, Georgia: contact lenses and lens care

·         Erlangen, Germany: corneal refractive instruments

·         Fort Worth, Texas: pharmaceuticals, intraocular lenses, contact lens care

·         Grosswallstadt, Germany: contact lenses

·         Irvine, California: cataract instruments, vitreoretinal surgery

·         Schaffhausen, Switzerland: biologics, surgical instruments

Our Pipeline Strategy & Focus Areas

Our pipeline strategy is built around a proof-of-concept qualification process to quickly identify opportunities that have the best chance for technical success and advance those projects, while terminating others with a low probability of success. Our pipeline is focused on two types of products: 

·         Breakthrough innovation: offer superior benefit and/or less risk than alternatives

·         Incremental innovation: offer incremental improvement in efficacy, safety, kinetics, dynamics, cost or convenience

Our R&D focus areas align with our franchises: Cataract Surgery; Vitreoretinal, Glaucoma and Corneal Refractive Surgeries; Pharmaceuticals; and Vision Care.

Cataract Surgery and Vitreoretinal, Glaucoma and Corneal Refractive Surgeries

Alcon’s Surgical franchises are focused on expanding intraocular lens capabilities to improve refractive outcomes and develop instruments for cataract, vitreoretinal and corneal refractive surgeries.Core R&D objectives of the franchises include:

  • Making ophthalmic surgery safer and more precise with innovative technology and working in concert with skilled surgeons around the globe
  • Creating better patient outcomes with advanced technology intraocular lenses

Pharmaceutical R&D objectives focus on four main conditions:

  • Glaucoma: improving efficacy; decreasing safety risk; reducing medication burden; developing new formulations, fixed combinations and mechanisms
  • Macular Degeneration: improving efficacy over standard of care, decreasing treatment burden, preventing progression of dry and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and exploring new mechanisms
  • External Diseases: providing better efficacy, decreasing safety risk, reducing medication burden and developing new formulations and new indications
  • Dry Eye/Over-the-Counter: improving comfort and relief, decreasing safety risk, addressing patient preference and developing new formulations

Vision Care
The Vision Care franchise now includes CIBA Vision contact lens and lens care products complementing Alcon’s existing lens care portfolio. Vision Care R&D is focused on expanding contact and lens care capabilities to address the following unmet needs:

·         Improving visual outcomes for patients with innovative/new optical designs

·         Providing sustained comfort over the wearing period of contact lenses through development of lens materials (including water gradients) and designs as well as biocompatible lens care solutions and conditioning drops

·         Reducing the risk of pathogen-related adverse events from contact lens wear by developing novel and superior disinfecting agents in lens care regimen and by improving compliance with novel packaging and lens storage cases

·         Evaluating research and assessing new technologies and treatments aimed at reducing the rate of progression of myopia

Our Partners In Research & Innovation

In addition to our internal team of R&D experts, we collaborate with external leaders to drive innovation. We built the following research advisory groups and partnerships to advance our R&D capabilities:

·         Alcon Research Council: advisory board consisting of the world’s key academic thought leaders in ophthalmology, which helps to validate Alcon’s research pipeline strategy

·         Alcon Research Institute: 30-year virtual, company-funded institute provides outstanding ophthalmic academic research

·         Academic Partners: maintain strong relationships with leading academic centers in basic and applied sciences allowing for access to researchers, professors, pre-clinical and clinical advisors, and potential employees

Technology and innovation in eye care is also being driven by new players, including biotech and device start-ups around the world. In response, we’ve increased our ability to identify new technology and develop partnerships. We seek to build and sustain strong relationships with the brightest innovators who are aligned with our mission of delivering innovative products to enhance quality of life by helping people see better. Many of our successful, ongoing programs are the result of the collaborative relationships we maintain, which have resulted in the following partnerships and acquisitions:

·         WaveLight (2007-2008): acquisition ofrefractive laser and diagnostic systems company

·         AstraZeneca (2009): pan-ophthalmology discovery agreement

·         ESBATech (2009): acquisition of proprietary antibody fragment technology

·         Optonol (2009): acquisition of surgical glaucoma device, the EX-PRESS™ Glaucoma Filtration Device

·         Potentia (2009): license to develop first-in-class early compound for macular degeneration (dry AMD)

·         Sirion Therapies (2010): licensing agreement of anti-inflammatory marketed product, DUREZOL® (difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%

·         LenSx® (2010): acquisition of first-to-market innovative femtosecond laser technology for cataract surgery

·         ThromboGenics (2012): agreement for rights to commercialize vitreoretinal drug ocriplasmin outside the United States

# # #

1The World’s Most Innovative Companies, Forbes, (Updated Not Available) [Accessed January 31, 2012]

Contact details

Mrs. Terry Boyer
Manager, Operations
R&D Alliances

Contact directly

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Head office

Alcon Research Ltd. a Novartis company
6201 South Freeway
Fort Worth
Texas (USA)

Company figures

Formed: 1945
Stock Exchange symbol: NOVN
Number of employees: 2000

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