GlaxoSmithKline moves to streamline drug research and boost its core pharma division

Courtney Goldsmith
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A man is at work at a vaccine production
Emma Walmsley succeeded Andrew Witty as GSK's chief executive in April (Source: Getty)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) narrowed its losses in the second quarter as it works to streamline drug research.

The figures

The pharmaceuticals giant revealed a loss before tax of £178m in the second quarter of 2017 compared with a loss of £318m the same quarter the previous year.

The FTSE 100 firm said adjusted earnings per share increased 12 per cent in sterling terms to 27.2p while it turned over £7.3bn in the second quarter, a rise of 12 per cent in reported terms or three per cent at constant exchange rates, driven by growth in pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

Shares in the company fell 1.51 per cent to 1,565.31p in afternoon trading.

Read more: Bosses of GSK and AstraZeneca set to take the spotlight in interim results

Why it's interesting

The UK's biggest drugmaker reaffirmed it is prioritising improvements to its core pharma division to help lessen the impact of pricing pressures.

Chief executive Emma Walmsley, who took the helm of the company in April, said more than 30 pre-clinical and clinical programmes will be stopped, partnered, or divested, and the firm is considering options for future ownership of its rare diseases unit after a strategic review.

The company will also ditch around 130 smaller drug brands.

Walmsley is working to streamline drug research as she shifts the company's focus away from consumer healthcare to double down on its pharmaceuticals division, as seen last week with the sale of the Horlicks drinks brand. She told reporters the company has been "too broadly spread".

The company will allocate capital to priority areas including respiratory, HIV and infectious diseases.

What GSK said

Walmsley said:

Our priority for the second half of the year is to maintain this momentum and prepare for the successful execution of several important near-term launches in respiratory, vaccines and HIV.

Today we are updating our full-year earnings guidance to reflect the investments we have made to accelerate the review of our new two drug regimen in HIV. We are also providing an update to investors on the longer-term outlook for the group and our priorities to improve innovation, performance and trust in GSK.

Read more: GSK to cut 320 jobs with the sale of its Horlicks brand in the UK

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