Record Shingrix sales help GSK raise 2022 forecasts

In its first set of financial figures since spinning off its consumer health division, GSK has reported a 19% increase in revenues, driven by burgeoning demand for its shingles vaccine Shingrix, which has helped the company to raise its full-year guidance.

Total revenues came in at £6.9 billion ($8.3 billion) – ahead of forecasts – although costs associated with the separation of consumer health unit Haleon as a separately listed company contributed to a 35% decline in operating profit to £1.1 billion.

Demerging Haleon has allowed GSK to focus on higher-margin prescription medicines and vaccines, as well as provide cash for investment in its biopharma pipeline. GSK has already made moves in this direction this year with deals to buy cancer specialist Sierra Oncology for $1.9 billion and vaccine firm Affinivax for up to $3.3 billion.

Chief executive Emma Walmsley said in a statement (PDF) that the revenue increase came from “strong growth in speciality medicines, including HIV, and a record quarter for our shingles vaccine Shingrix.”

Sales of the vaccine more than doubled to £731 million in the quarter due in part to a recovery demand following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, inventory building in the US and strong demand in Germany.

GSK’s HIV business, run through joint venture company ViiV Healthcare, also had a good quarter with sales up 14% to £1.4 billion, led by gains for two-drug oral regimens Dovato (dolutegravir/lamivudine) and Juluca (dolutegravir/rilpivirine) and a contribution by recently-launched long-acting injectable Cabenuva (cabotegravir).

On the downside, GSK’s COVID-19 therapy Xevudy (sotrovimab) saw a slump in demand, with sales falling to £500 million from £1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2022, and GSK is expecting the decline to continue through the remainder of the year.

GSK has raised its full-year guidance for sales growth to 6-8% from 5-7%, with profit growth of 13-15% compared to its earlier estimate of 12-14%.

Looking at the drivers for future growth, GSK pointed to its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate, due to be filed later this year, chronic hepatitis B therapy bepirovirsen in phase 2b trials, Sierra’s lead cancer drug momelotinib, which was recently filed for myelofibrosis, and its new-generation meningitis vaccine.

Walmsley (pictured above) said the recent acquisitions and a strengthening pipeline “together with a strengthened post-demerger balance sheet, create new capacity and flexibility for GSK to invest in growth and innovation for patients and shareholders”.

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