GlaxoSmithKline's third-quarter results lifted by weak pound

GlaxoSmithKline reported Wednesday that third-quarter sales jumped 23 percent year-over-year to 7.5 billion pounds ($9.2 billion), gaining a boost from the weak pound and topping analyst estimates of 7.3 billion pounds ($8.9 billion). Meanwhile, profit in the three-month period reached 808 million pounds ($988 million), up from 538 million pounds ($658 million) in the same quarter of 2015.

CEO Andrew Witty remarked "our third-quarter results reflect strong performances across the group and the sustained progress we have made...to deliver sales growth of new products." The executive added "with this positive momentum, we are confident in achieving our earnings guidance for the year."

In the quarter, sales of pharmaceuticals climbed 6 percent on a constant currency basis to 4.1 billion pounds ($5 billion), with revenue from vaccines surging 20 percent to 1.6 billion ($2 billion) due to increased demand for seasonal influenza vaccines and growth in meningitis products obtained in an asset swap with Novartis.

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GlaxoSmithKline noted that new product sales in the three-month period were up 79 percent at 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion), led by growth from HIV drugs, respiratory products and meningitis vaccines. Revenue from HIV drugs surged 32 percent to 940 million pounds ($1.1 billion), while sales of respiratory products jumped 8 percent over the year-ago quarter to 1.6 billion pounds ($2 billion). Additionally, sales for the company's consumer healthcare business rose by 5 percent to 1.9 billion pounds ($2.3 billion).

Regarding individual products, sales of the HIV therapy Tivicay jumped 39 percent year-over-year to 250 million pounds ($306 million), while revenue from Breo/Relvar more than doubled to 156 million pounds ($191 million). GlaxoSmithKline noted that the increased revenue from the products offset declining sales for the asthma treatment Advair, which generated 857 million pounds ($1 billion) in sales, down 7 percent compared to the third quarter of last year, but besting analyst estimates of 780 million pounds ($954 million). The company said that sales of the drug were bolstered by adjustments in rebates by US payers.

GlaxoSmithKline reaffirmed its prior forecast of core earnings growth of 11 percent to 12 percent on a constant currency basis.

The company also indicated Wednesday that it was removing the cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix from the US market due to slow sales. The move will leave Merck & Co.'s Gardasil as the only human papillomavirus vaccine on the US market, with the company reporting earlier this week that sales of the product in the third quarter surged 38 percent to $860 million, ahead of forecasts of $629 million.

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