By the numbers:
6201 S. Freeway
Fort Worth 76134
Chemin de Blandonnet 8
2019 Revenue: $7,508,000,000
2019 Loss: -$656,000,000
2018 Revenue: $7,276,000,000
2018 Loss: -$227,000,000
David J. Endicott, CEO & Director
Fort Worth is known by a variety of monikers – Cowtown, Panther City – and has a secure footing in many industries – aviation, oil & gas, transportation, manufacturing – but none captures the full scope of the city’s wide, varied and entrepreneurial economy.
Take Alcon Inc., for instance.
The eye care company researches, develops, manufactures, distributes and sell eye care products for professional and their patients and is now the largest eye care device company in the world. It seems a world away from meatpacking plants, cattle and energy.
Pharmacists Robert Alexander and William Conner opened a pharmacy business in Fort Worth 1945 and combined their last names for the business name. In 1947, they incorporated Alcon Laboratories. Their timing showed great foresight as the postwar era saw many medical breakthroughs as well as increasing consumer spending on eyecare.
The Swiss food company Nestlé bought Alcon in 1978 for $280 million and received $50 billion when it sold Alcon to the Switzerland-based global health care company Novartis in 2011.
In April 2019, Alcon became an independent, publicly traded company with shares trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “ALC.”
Alcon is now the largest eye care device company in the world, with complementary businesses in surgical and vision care. The company has a global presence in 74 countries and serves patients in more than 140 with fast-growing businesses in emerging markets. According to a news release from the company, Alcon has the widest array of eye care offerings in the industry with products that can treat eye disorders at each stage of life.
The company has continued to innovate. In 2019, the company announced its initial commercial launch and Food and Drug Administration approval of the first trifocal lens for U.S. patients undergoing cataract surgery.
While based in Geneva, Switzerland, major operations are located in the city where the company was founded – Fort Worth.
The company has long been involved in and continues to invest in the community. Earlier this year, the company said it expects to make a projected capital investment of $153 million in a production capacity expansion and compliance initiative.
Shortly after becoming a stand-alone company again, in May 2019, 57 Alcon employees completed painting a three-wall mural at 3600 E. Vickery St., as part of the Alcon in Action event, an annual, company-wide day of community action.
In October, the Alcon Foundation, in partnership with Trinity Habitat for Humanity, built a home for Audra Sapp and her children at Habitat’s campus in west Fort Worth, a project delayed from March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alcon has also been involved in Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial community – both directly and indirectly with employees launching their own startups, sometimes to remarkable success.
In 2019, Alcon began a grant and coaching program for women entrepreneurs to start and propel their business visions. The program, Real Relief for Visionary Women, is a partnership among Systane, Alcon’s best-selling eye drop brand; Barbara Corcoran, businesswomen and Shark Tank media personality; and iFundWomen, a women-centric crowdfunding platform.
Indirectly, former Alcon employees Elyse Stolz Dickerson and Joseph Griffin have founded Fort Worth-based Eosera Inc., a biotechnology company that has launched Earwax MD, a topical drug that helps dissolve earwax.
And Encore Vision, a Fort Worth startup later sold to Alcon’s then-owner Novartis was started by a former Alcon associate.
David Endicott, CEO of Alcon, says that despite the pandemic, the future is bright for the company.
“For more than 70 years, Alcon has been dedicated to helping people see brilliantly and now, as an independent company, we are pursuing even more opportunities to further that mission,” he said. “We have a long history of industry firsts and, as a nimble medical device company, we are sharply focused on providing innovative products that meet the needs of our customers, patients and consumers.”