Alcon Making Progress Toward Becoming a More Agile Company, CEO Endicott Says

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GENEVA, Switzerland—Buoyed by single-digit sales gains and a positive response from the optical sector to the company’s spinoff from Novartis, Alcon chief executive officer David Endicott said Wednesday he believes the company has had a “good start to the first half of the year” and that it is making progress on transforming into a “simpler, more agile company.” He added that Alcon will continue to focus on creating the products that patients need. Endicott made his comments on a conference call with securities analysts several hours after the company reported sales results for the second quarter. 

Alcon (SIX/NYSE:ALC), in its second earnings report since the spinoff earlier this year, said sales rose 2 percent to $1.9 billion in the second quarter, with mid-single digit growth in all product categories, as VMAIL reported. The sales increase was 5 percent at constant currency rates, according to the earnings announcement.

As a standalone company, Alcon has established three key priorities to guide its growth and evolution, Endicott explained. The three priorities are “standing up the new Alcon” with development of new corporate functions, driving revenue with key growth platforms, and transforming the culture with a focus on ownership, accountability, speed, simplicity and customer centricity.

On the conference call, Endicott spoke positively about this week’s launch of the new Precision1 daily contact lens, which he said will fit into a “largely under-served group” of contact lens wearers, those consumers seeking a “lasting performance” contact lens. “We’re anticipating a favorable response,” he said, adding that fit sets for the new lens product have begun rolling out to the ECPs who are committed to the brand and should be available across U.S. eyecare by the end of 2020’s first quarter.

VMAIL reported on the Precision1 launch here. Alcon said it invested in marketing and sales to support the launch in the second quarter and will continue this support through year’s end, “but it won’t be at the level it was in the second quarter.”

Addressing a reorganization of the company’s sales force, Endicott said the reorganization was “smoothly executed” and transitions the company from a system in which two different sales reps (specialty products and general reps) were calling on the same eyecare offices, to a more efficient model. This also reduces the size of many reps’ territories, which should enable better service to ECPs, Endicott said.

In response to a question, Endicott also noted that treating glaucoma is “of particular interest” to Alcon as it considers new growth opportunities. He said treating glaucoma is something that “fits on top of an area that we [already] call on doctors with.”

He also noted in the Q&A session that Alcon is following the myopia control market very closely, and noted that he believes much of the current technology for myopia treatment is “many years old.”

“We haven’t seen a technology that we’re excited about,” he said, and noted that Alcon is prepared to move into this treatment space “if we see something exciting”