GSK’s CEO Walmsley aiming for six new approvals in 2020

GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Emma Walmsley has said the company hopes to get at least six new drug approvals in the next year.

In an interview at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco with CNBC, Walmsley said there is a lot of data expected in 2020.

Walmsley said in the interview that the next year could see “at least six approvals of new medicines or new indications”.

GSK is asking for approval for belantamab mafodotin, a treatment for multiple myeloma, a potential first-in-class drug that binds to the B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) that is also targeted by CAR-T therapies in clinical development.

A look at GSK’s pipeline shows its novel two-drug HIV treatment is top of the list, although this last month suffered a knock-back from the FDA.

The combination of cabotegravir and rilpivirine developed by its ViiV Healthcare joint venture with Pfizer and Shionogi is unlikely to need further trials for approval as the FDA cited issues with manufacturing controls in its rejection letter.

Also in registration phase is GSK’s asthma triple therapy Trelegy (fluticasone furoate+umeclidinium+vilanterol), which last year produced results in the CAPTAIN study showing it was better at improving lung function in uncontrolled asthma than the company’s two drug combo Relvar/Breo (fluticasone+vilanterol).

At the time of the results last May GSK’s R&D chief Hal Barron said Trelegy was on course for a filing in uncontrolled asthma.

Also in registration stage is Zejula (niraparib), the PARP inhibitor added to GSK’s portfolio following its $5.1 billion acquisition of Tesaro.

This is already approved in late line ovarian cancer by the FDA since October, with other regulators possibly following suit soon.

In Japan daprodustat for anaemia associated with chronic renal disease is under review, and there are around a dozen other drugs in late stage development, ranging from therapies for bacterial infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV.

Walmsley added that despite the focus on a mean-but-lean R&D operation, the company would still focus on bringing returns to shareholders.

GSK’s Emma Walmsley

She said: “We want to make sure that that innovation is being brought to patients but our commitment to the dividend remains extremely strong and there’s no change to our policy around that.”

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