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Novartis is (reportedly) starting to sell its ophthalmology assets

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2 min read

Bloomberg reports that Novartis AG is working with an adviser to determine potential sales for its front-of-eye treatment assets.

Give me some background first.

Bloomberg first reported in November 2022 the company’s plans to sell off all or some of its ophthalmology and respiratory franchises, following the recent consolidation of the oncology and pharmaceuticals units as part of a major overhaul earlier in the year (in which it announced plans to separate from Sandoz).

The ophthalmology and respiratory franchises are non-core assets, meaning they’re not included in the five core therapeutic areas and technology platforms the company announced plans to focus on in the future.

How much is the ophthalmology franchise worth?

Estimates clock in at around $5 billion.

What’s included in this sale?

Per Bloomberg, Xiidra—which Novartis acquired from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. in 2019—is included in the potential sale. The dry eye drug has generated $487 million in sales revenue for 2022.

Why Xiidra?

Speculating reports are that Novartis has been unable to broaden sales revenues much beyond the $400 million mark it was making prior to the acquisition.

Anything else to know?

Bloomberg also stated that, according to sources, that Lucentis, indicated for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is not currently included in the for-sale assets. The drug garnered $1.9 billion in sales in 2022.

Final thoughts?

Despite these reports, per Bloomberg, a Novartis spokesperson stated that deliberations are still ongoing and the company could ultimately decide to retain its assets (including Xiidra).

Stay tuned to hear more!

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