GlaxoSmithKline's Q4 prescription drug sales slide 5%; forecasts drop in earnings for 2020

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Prescription drug sales

£4.6 billion ($6 billion)


Overall revenue

£8.9 billion ($11.6 billion; forecasts of £9 billion)



£1.5 billion ($2 billion)


Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

CEO Emma Walmsley noted that GlaxoSmithKline "delivered a good performance in 2019 with growth in sales and earnings." The executive said "we are also preparing for the future, starting a new two-year programme to get GlaxoSmithKline ready for separation" with the set up of "two new leading companies in biopharma and consumer healthcare."

Other results:

  • Vaccine sales: £1.7 billion ($2.2 billion), up 18%, driven by gains for Shingrix, and while meningitis vaccines also contributed to growth, influenza vaccine sales fell primarily as a result of "favourable US phasing" in last year's third quarter
    • Shingrix: £532 million ($690 million), up over 100%
    • Fluarix/FluLaval: £138 million ($179 million), down 28%
    • Bexsero: £112 million ($145 million), down 2%
    • Menveo: £66 million ($86 million), up 50%
  • Established pharmaceuticals sales: £2.2 billion ($2.9 billion), down 15%
  • HIV product sales: £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion), down 1%, with growth from the dolutegravir franchise essentially unchanged from the year-ago period, "as the business transitions to the new two-drug portfolio"
    • Triumeq: £638 million ($827 million), down 8%
    • Tivicay: £426 million ($552 million), down 6%
    • Juluca: £111 million ($144 million), up 79%
    • Dovato: £33 million ($43 million)
  • Established respiratory product sales: £965 million ($1.3 billion), down 17%
    • Seretide/Advair: £414 million ($537 million), down 36%, as US sales of Advair faced the third full quarter of generic competition, resulting in a 65% decline in sales there
  • New respiratory product sales: £892 million ($1.2 billion), up 8%, boosted by gains for Trelegy Ellipta and Nucala
    • Ellipta product sales: £674 million ($874 million), up 3%, with growth in Europe and international regions, although US sales declined 6% due to continued competitive pricing pressures for Relvar/Breo
    • Nucala: £218 million ($283 million), up 26%
  • Benlysta: £170 million ($220 million), up 23%, including sales of £79 million ($103 million) for the subcutaneous formulation
  • Consumer healthcare sales: £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion), up 35%
  • Full-year revenue: £33.8 billion ($43.8 billion), up 10% versus 2018
  • Full-year profit: £5.3 billion ($6.9 billion), up 30% versus 2018

Looking ahead:

GlaxoSmithKline expects adjusted earnings per share this year to decline in the range of 1% to 4% at constant exchange rates. "This guidance excludes any impact in 2020 from any further material divestments beyond those previously announced and any potential impact on our business from the coronavirus outbreak," the drugmaker noted.

The company also indicated that additional one-time costs to prepare the consumer healthcare unit for separation are estimated at £600 million ($780 million) to £700 million ($909 million).

Pipeline updates:

GlaxoSmithKline said it has ended development of the PI3Kb inhibitor GSK2636771, which was in Phase I/II testing for advanced solid tumours with phosphatase and tensin homologue deficiency, "as part of ongoing portfolio prioritisation." In addition, the targeted BET inhibitor GSK3358699, which was in early-stage testing for rheumatoid arthritis, has been "moved back to research," although the company did not provide specifics. Meanwhile, following the recent failure of the HIV vaccine candidate HVTN 702, a regimen comprising GlaxoSmithKline's GP120 protein subunit vaccine and Sanofi's ALVAC-HIV canarypox-based vaccine, the UK drugmaker stated that "further development of this vaccine candidate has been discontinued."

To read more Top Story articles, click here.