GSK buoyed by vaccines, HIV drugs
- British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline relied on strong performance from its HIV drugs Tivicay and Triumeq, along with higher sales of its vaccines, to shake off sagging revenues from its top-selling respiratory drug Advair in the third quarter.
- The company said it plans to file for approval of its shingles vaccine Shingrix in the EU, as well as for its triple combination for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in both the U.S. and EU, during the fourth quarter. Both are expected to substantially boost revenues in the future.
- Overall, pharmaceutical sales rose 6% to £4.1 billion ($5.0 billion) on a constant exchange rate basis, while global vaccines revenue rose 20% to £1.6 billion ($2.0 billion).
Outgoing GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty touted the growth of several of its new products in vaccines and pharmaceuticals, while looking ahead to several upcoming filings.
"Twenty-five percent of the pharmaceuticals income now comes from products launched in the last three to four years," said Witty.
Yet the British pharma has struggled to develop major new drugs or gin up interest in its pipeline in recent years. Indeed, the earnings report disclosed further development of losmapimod in COPD was terminated after a review of Phase 2 results.
With Advair sales set to fall further after patent expiry in the U.S., Witty stayed focused on the future.
"Our recent review of our R&D portfolio has reinforced our confidence in our near-term and earlier assets," says Witty. "We expect to have clinical data on twenty or thirty of our assets by the end of 2018, in our core areas of oncology and immune-inflammation."
Investors will likely take that with a grain of salt given recent setbacks. The company withdrew its cervical cancer vaccine, Cervarix, in the U.S. during the third quarter, after finding it could not compete against Merck's Gardasil.
"We were the second to market, and sometimes the order of entry can be very important," says Witty.
Elsewhere, an EU filing for the shingles vaccine Shingrix is planned for the fourth quarter, following closely on the heels of submission in the U.S. earlier this week. Witty also previewed the planned Q4 filing for the company's COPD triple combo.
"This means we will have inhaled monotherapy steroid and bronchodilator therapeutics on the U.S. market, as well as a dual combination therapy," Witty said.
This is Witty's last financial year with GlaxoSmithKline, with Emma Walmsley set to succeed him as CEO in April of next year.
Operating profits increased by 5% to £1.4 billion on a constant exchange rate basis, compared to the same period a year prior.
- GlaxoSmithKline Statement
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