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GSK reports negative first quarter

R&D pipeline currently includes 59 vaccines and medicines

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GlaxoSmithKline's Upper Providence Twp. site to grow


LONDON | GSK (Glaxo Smith Kline), with facilities in Collegeville and Valley Forge, Pa., and its CEO, Emma Walmsley, have been under fire for the company’s lackluster performance compared to other large pharma companies.

Recently, it was reported that activist hedge fund Elliott Management had built up a multi-billion-pound stake in the company, which almost certainly spells more challenges for Walmsley and GSK down the road.

Further complicating things, the company is actively planning to separate its consumer unit in 2022. Said Walmsley in a statement: “Separation plans are also well underway, and we look forward to sharing our strategy and growth outlook for New GSK with investors in June.”


Nevertheless, even though GSK reported mostly negative results for the first quarter, its earnings managed to exceed analysts’ expectations and its stock was trading roughly even mid-day Wednesday.

Walmsley commented: “Our first quarter results are in line with our expectations and reflect the anticipated impacts of COVID-19. We continue to expect a significant improvement in performance over the remainder of the year and reconfirm our guidance for 2021 and 2022 outlook.”

R&D Pipeline

GSK’s approach to R&D focuses on the science of the immune system, genetics and advanced technologies. The pipeline currently comprises 59 vaccines and medicines, predominantly in the areas of infectious diseases, oncology and immune-mediated diseases.

The company has identified over 20 potential product approvals which could take place by 2026, of which more than 10 could significantly change medical practice and potentially generate peak annual sales in excess of one billion dollars.

GSK is working on a number of COVID-19 Vaccine collaborations. The company has reached an agreement in principle with Novavax and the UK Government Vaccines Taskforce to support manufacturing of up to 60 million doses of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate (NVX-CoV2373) for use in the UK.

Medicago and GSK started a Phase III trial of adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate in combination with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant, as part of the ongoing Phase II/III study.

Sanofi and GSK started a new Phase II study of adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate and GSK and SK Bioscience started a new collaboration and Phase I/II study of an adjuvanted protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In addition, GSK started a Phase I study with self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) with COVID-19 as model antigen.

First Quarter Results

Group sales were £7.418 billion in the first quarter, down 15% CER (Constant Exchange Rate).

Pharmaceutical sales in the quarter were £3.882 billion, a decline of 8%, reflecting the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the inventory build in the first quarter of 2020 and lower demand for antibiotic products in the first quarter of 2021.

New and Specialty sales of £1.940 billion grew 3%, with growth from Respiratory, Immuno-inflammation and Oncology partially offset by decline in HIV. Sales of Established Pharmaceuticals declined 17% to £1.942 billion.

Vaccine sales declined 30% to £1.224 billion, primarily driven by the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Shingrix, Hepatitis vaccines, DTPa-containing vaccines and Bexsero, partly offset by the performance of Cervarix in China.

Consumer Healthcare sales declined 16% CER to £2.312 billion in the first quarter, largely driven by the divestment program which has now completed. Sales excluding brands divested/under review declined 9% .

Total operating profit was £1.693 billion in first quarter 2021 compared with £2.014 billion in 2020. Adjusted operating profit was £1.881 billion, 23% lower on a sales decline of 15%. investment in R&D.

Total EPS (Earnings Per Share) was 21.5 pence, compared with 31.5 pence in 2020. Adjusted EPS was 22.9 pence in 2021’s first quarter compared with 37.7 pence in the first quarter of 2020, down 33% CER.

2021 Guidance

“The launch of Cabenuva for HIV and Phase III starts for our RSV vaccine and a new long-acting treatment for severe asthma are key milestones as we continue to strengthen our growth prospects,” said Walmsley. “In 2021, as planned we will continue to increase investment in our pipeline, build on our top-line momentum for key growth drivers and largely complete readiness for separation.”

Walmsley reconfirmed a guidance range for 2021 for a decline of adjusted EPS in the mid to high-single digit percent range. Assuming healthcare systems and consumer trends approach normality in the second half of the year, the company continues to expect Pharmaceutical revenue to grow flat to low-single digits and Consumer Healthcare revenue to grow low to mid-single digits excluding brands divested/under review with above market growth.

For the Vaccines business, GSK anticipated disruption during the first half of the year, given governments’ prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination programs and ongoing measures to contain the pandemic. The company remains confident in the underlying demand for its Vaccine products, and expects strong recovery and contribution to growth, notably from Shingrix, in the second half of the year, with Vaccines revenue for 2021 growing flat to low-single digits.

GSK (NYSE: GSK), headquartered in London, U.K., consists of three global businesses that research, develop and manufacture innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products.

Shop Talk

What's new in the business community!

If you know of local business openings or closings, please notify us here.

· Thomas Ripsam has been named the new CEO of Martin Guitar. He succeeds longtime Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV.

. Owners of Tucker Silk Mill to open wine bar and garden in down Easton in early 2022. Kabinett will have a mostly Australian and German wine list, with light fare, and an outdoor patio overlooking the Delaware River.

· Community Action Lehigh Valley promoted Dawn Godshall to executive director and Jessica Reimert to deputy executive director for operations, and hired Jaana Kelley as associate executive director for community services.

· The Trolley Stop diner opened May 29th at 201 S. McCartney Street in Easton

· Bitty & Beau's, a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities, will set up shop at 74 W. Broad St. in Bethlehem.

PPL Corporation named by DiversityInc as one of top utilities in nation for workforce diversity

· Semper Pie, 14 S. Reading Ave. in Boyertown, hosting grand opening with cheesecake and more on May 22. 

· St. Luke’s OB/GYN – Complete Women’s Care, 9 Dave’s Way, in Hamburg, will accept new patients starting May 6. 

· Rolling Hills Recreation mini golf course, 4565 Spring Hill Dr. in Schnecksville, will hold its grand opening May 1.

· The Red Rose Diner, Route 22 in Phillipsburg, has announced that it will close its doors May 2. 

· Pizza D’Oro restaurant on College Hill, Easton reopened on April 21 as Joey D's. The restaurant offers dine-in and takeout options.

· The Da Vinci Science Center announced that Lin Erickson, executive director and CEO, has been named a Take the Lead honoree by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

. Deliciously Decorated, 143 S. Main St. in Nazareth, will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 8.

· Jack Callaghan's is reopening as Cuzin's Pub and Grill at 2027 W. Tilghman St.

. John L. Walsh will retire as President and CEO of UGI Corporation on June 25, 2021. He will continue to serve as a member of UGI's Board of Directors.

. Bru Daddy's Brewing to launch new restaurant, Blended by Bru Daddy's, on downtown Allentown ArtsWalk. Soft opening is planned for May with grand opening in June.

· BSI Corporate Benefits, LLC (BSI) promoted Valerie (Val) Lewis to Chief Operating Officer. The nationwide employee benefits consulting firm executes cost control strategies to manage their clients’ healthcare costs.

. UPMC Health Plan appoints Dr. Amy Meister as chief medical health and wellness officer

· Center for Vision Loss, a nonprofit in the Lehigh Valley and Monroe County, changes name to Sights for Hope

· PPL Corporation names Gregory Dudkin executive vice president and chief operating officer. Stephanie Raymond will succeed him as president of PPL Electric Utilities.

· New Vision Theatres Tilghman Square 8 will become Tilghman Square 8. Its anticipated opening is in April 2021.

.Genesis Bicycles in Easton has been sold to Trek Bicycle. Genesis' retirement sale starts Thursday, April 1

· European Wax Center to open at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in summer 2021

· Split Pine Axe Throwing opens at 627 Hamilton Street in Allentown

· Krave 2 Taste opens new location at the Lehigh Valley Mall, next to Verizon. The frappe and smoothie shop will hold a grand opening event on March 27 from 12-3 p.m.

· First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union appoints James Gagliano as new chief experience officer

· New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem announced several promotions: Veronne Demesyeux was named Associate Executive Director; Tina Sargent was promoted to Director of Finance and Administration; and Lisa Myers was named Controller.

. PPL Corporation named Best Place to Work for LGBTQ equality on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index. It's the fifth consecutive year PPL has earned high marks on the national report

· GEICO has opened an office in the Broadcasting Square shopping center, 2733 Papermill Road, Suite X3, in Spring Township. Office hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

· Bimbo Bakeries USA has earned the EPA's Energy Star certification for superior energy efficiency at 15 of its bakeries, including the one that produces Maier's Bakery items in southwest Reading's Oakbrook neighborhood.

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