In her 1st comments since taking the helm on April 1st, GlaxoSmithKline‘s (NYSE:GSK) new chief executive Emma Walmsley said that her priority is the company’s pharmaceuticals unit, where she wants to lead fewer but bigger new drug launches.
“We’d like to have probably fewer and more focused priorities, to have bigger launches,” she told reporters, according to Reuters. Walmsley added that this would likely involve the closure of some research programs.
This approach is a shift for the British drugmaker, which has been prolific when it comes to drug launches but has not produced any multibillion-dollar blockbuster therapies recently.
Under GSK’s former CEO, Andrew Witty, the company struggled to deliver returns to investors due to slower-than-expected drug sales. The company has built up a diversified portfolio, with consumer health and vaccines at the core of its pharmaceuticals biz.
Today the company also posted its 1st quarter financial results, beating estimates on the Street for revenue and earnings. Sales rose 19% to 7.38 billion pounds ($9.46 billion), exceeding analysts expectations of 7.26 billion pounds. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 25 pence, beating estimates on the Street.
“This is a positive start for the year with sales growth in all 3 of our businesses and an improvement in the group’s operating margin,” Walmsley said.
“We will be continuing to look externally, if that is the right way for us to make sure we have a really strong pipeline to deliver returns,” she said, telling reporters that she would likely look to invest in early-stage experimental drugs.
As Walmsley considers changes to GSK’s strategies, the pharma giant faces competition from the threat of an Advair generic.
GSK was dealt a win after the FDA delayed approval of Mylan‘s (NSDQ:MYL) copy of the inhaler, but a generic from Hikma could potentially win approval as soon as the start of May. The company reiterated that generic Advair could affect full-year profits for 2017.
GSK predicted that EPS will be flat to slightly lower in 2017 if a substitutable Advair generic hits the U.S. market by mid-year. If not, EPS should grow between 5 and 7%, the company said.
GSK shares were trading at $40.78 apiece in mid-afternoon activity, down -1.7%.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.