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Alcon (ALC) Launches Preservative-Free Drops for Dry Eye Relief

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Alcon Inc. ALC recently announced an addition to its advanced portfolio of dry eye products with the European launch of Systane Complete Preservative-Free Lubricant Eye Drops, available in an easy-to-use, multi-dose bottle. This launch strengthens Alcon’s foothold in the large and fast-growing artificial tears market.

The launch of Systane Complete Preservative-Free expands Alcon’s multi-dose, preservative-free portfolio to include an all-in-one solution for patients with dry eye symptoms. The Systane Complete Preservative-Free joins the Systane Ultra Preservative-Free and the Systane Hydration Preservative-Free to offer a full range of multi-dose, preservative-free dry eye relief products for patients suffering from mild to chronic dry eye symptoms.

Starting in Europe, the Systane Complete Preservative-Free launch is anticipated to extend to the United States, Australia and other markets during 2022.

More on the Product

The Systane Complete Preservative-Free formula hydrates and protects all layers of the tear film to deliver all-in-one dry eye relief with just one drop. Alcon’s proprietary formula utilizes intelligent moisture and lipid delivery to improve dispersion throughout the eye's surface, stabilizing the tear film. Its innovative nano-droplet technology provides fast-acting hydration, tear evaporation protection, and long-lasting relief.

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Zacks Investment Research

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The bottle’s closing tip system was built with patented PureFlow technology to ensure the safe delivery of the preservative-free artificial tear. Further, the bottle contains a one-way valve that eliminates the requirement for preservatives in the eye drops.

Per management, the Systane Complete Preservative-Free offers up to eight hours of relief for all major forms of dry eye. This new product will allow frequent users of artificial tears, or those with sensitive eyes, to manage their symptoms effectively and conveniently.

Industry Prospects

Per a report published in Research and Markets, the artificial tears market is set to witness a CAGR of 5.34% during 2020-2028. The rising incidence of dry eye, a surge in the older population, and the increasing number of industrial developments fuel market growth.

Per company-provided data, the artificial tears category is worth nearly $1 billion in annual sales, where preservative-free is the fastest-growing segment, accounting for more than 40% of the category.

Given the substantial market prospects, Alcon’s European launch of Systane Complete Preservative-Free seems well-timed and strategic.

Notable Developments

Alcon engaged in a couple of developments in January 2022.

This month, the company launched the DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism-- the first and only Water Gradient contact lens for astigmatism patients. This launch expands Alcon’s premium, daily disposable lenses, including the DAILIES TOTAL1 (sphere) and DAILIES TOTAL1 Multifocal. The DAILIES TOTAL1 for Astigmatism contact lenses will be offered in the United States beginning March.

Alcon also closed its previously-announced (Nov 8) acquisition of Ivantis, Inc., renowned developer of the Hydrus Microstent, a minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery device. This buyout is expected to strengthen Alcon’s global surgical portfolio as well as drive expansion in the glaucoma space. The company aims to introduce the Hydrus Microstent device on a larger, global scale in the near future.

Share Price Performance

The stock has outperformed its industry over the past year. It has gained 11.4% versus the industry’s 0.4% growth.

Zacks Rank and Other Key Picks

Currently, Alcon carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other top-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that investors can consider are AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. AMN, Apollo Endosurgery, Inc. APEN and Patterson Companies, Inc. PDCO.

AMN Healthcare, carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.2%. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 19.5%, on average.

AMN Healthcare has outperformed its industry over the past year. AMN has gained 47.2% against the 54.7% industry decline.

Apollo Endosurgery, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. The company‘s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 25.6%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Apollo Endosurgery has outperformed its industry in the past year. APEN has gained 60.3% versus the industry’s 0.4% rise.

Patterson Companies, sporting a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 9.9%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed in one, delivering an average surprise of 3.7%.

Patterson Companies has underperformed its industry over the past year. PDCO has declined 12.7% versus the industry’s 5.3% rise.


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