CIBA Vision raised its total sales by 19 percent to 1,181 million Swiss francs (e787m-$652m) in the first 9 months of this year, but only by 9 percent in local currencies. The main growth factor was the launch of Visudyne, a breakthrough treatment for age-related macular degeneration, whose sales have surpassed 100 million SF (e65m-$55m) after only 6 months on the market. Impressive sales of Zaditen and Zaditor anti-allegic eye drops further boosted CIBA's revenues from ophthalmics.

Focus Dailies, the company's daily disposable contact lenses, achieved ?sustained outstanding performance,? particularly in Italy, the Nordic countries, the USA and Japan. More conventional contact lens and lens care products continued to face weak market conditions, except for the SOLO-care disinfection line.

No new announcements have been made sofar regarding the $785 million acquisition of Wesley Jessen, which was completed last Oct. 2. As reported, the group has set up a committee to evaluate potential synergies and recommend reorganization measures.

Saleswise, CIBA Vision performed better than any other division within the Novartis group in the latest 9-month period. Overall, the Swiss group posted a 7 percent sales increase in local currencies for its continuing operations. Including the agribusiness, which is being divested, Novartis raised its total sales by 13 percent to 27.6 billion SF (e18.4m-$15.2m), with an increase of only 5 percent in local currencies.