Nov 16 (Reuters) – Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN. S) is considering selling its ophthalmology and respiratory system units, a Bloomberg report said on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company is seeking to raise money from the possible sale of the particular assets to invest in cutting-edge medicines, the statement said, adding that the ophthalmology unit could alone fetch about $5 billion.

The drugmaker declined to comment on the particular report.

Novartis in August said it was planning to spin off its generics unit Sandoz to sharpen its focus on its patented prescription medications.

The company spun away its Alcon eye care business in 2019, and in November last year agreed to sell a nearly one-third voting stake in Roche (ROG. S) as it seeks to streamline operations.

Sandoz sales have been hurt by pricing pressure that has affected the broader generics industry for years, particularly in the particular United States, although the country accounts for less than the quarter of its total sales.

Any sale associated with the ophthalmology and breathing businesses will be likely in order to begin inside 2023, after the process for Sandoz is completed, the Bloomberg report said.

Novartis has said that its five main therapeutic areas are cardio-renal treatment, immunology, neuroscience, oncology plus hematology and that it was taking an “opportunistic” development approach within ophthalmology and respiratory care.

The group’s largest ophthalmology product is Lucentis to treat macular degeneration in the elderly, with revenue of 2 . 16 billion dollars euros last year. Novartis partners with Roche on the medication.

But Lucentis’ revenue is in decline because cheap copies are usually available. Novartis’ next-generation macular degeneration drug Beovu has not been a commercial success because of concerns over potential side effects.

The Switzerland group’s respiratory and allergy sales were $2. 1 billion this past year, mostly from asthma medication Xolair, where Roche is also a partner.

The two companies are testing Xolair, which is under threat from competing asthma products, as a food allergic reaction treatment.

Reporting simply by Bhanvi Satija and Raghav Mahobe in Bengaluru plus Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Mark Porter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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