GlaxoSmithKline's first-quarter revenue tops forecasts as Shingrix sales surge 81%

Headline results for the first quarter:

Prescription drug sales

£4.4 billion ($5.5 billion)

+6%

Overall revenue

£9.1 billion ($11.3 billion, forecasts of £8.8 billion)

+19%

Profit

£1.7 billion ($2.1 billion)

+70%

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"Our business performed strongly in the quarter with growth in sales and earnings reflecting good underlying performance and increased demand, including stock-building, for many of our products," remarked CEO Emma Walmsley.

GlaxoSmithKline said that towards the end of the quarter, additional demand and customer stock building in Europe and the US related to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a "positive impact" on the growth of HIV and respiratory products. "This was partly offset by lower sales in China, reflecting different stages in the progress of the pandemic and different government and market responses," the company noted.

Other results:

  • Vaccine sales: £1.8 billion ($2.2 billion), up 19%, primarily lifted by Shingrix, with meningitis vaccines also contributing to growth
    • Shingrix: £647 million ($804 million), up 81%, driven by continued strong uptake in the US, as well as Germany and Canada
    • Bexsero: £164 million ($204 million), up 5%, driven by strong demand and favourable timing of tenders in Europe together with market growth in the US
    • Menveo: £40 million ($50 million), up 21%, reflecting higher demand and favourable phasing in Europe plus strong demand in the US
    • Fluarix/FluLaval: £21 million ($26 million), up 40%, helped by favourable phasing and higher demand in international markets
  • HIV product sales: £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion), up 8%, with sales benefitting from customer stock building due to COVID-19, mainly on Tivicay and Triumeq, while growth for the two-drug regimens Juluca and Dovato "more than offset" the decline in Triumeq
    • Triumeq: £563 million ($700 million), down 8%
    • Tivicay: £412 million ($512 million), up 8%
    • Juluca: £120 million ($149 million), up 71%
    • Dovato: £66 million ($82 million)
  • New respiratory product sales: £871 million ($1.1 million), up 38%
    • Ellipta product sales: £661 million ($822 million), up 38%, driven by growth in all regions
    • Nucala: £210 million ($261 million), up 38%, with US and European sales gaining 35% and 38%, respectively, to £115 million ($143 million) and £62 million ($77 million)
  • Benlysta: £151 million ($188 million), up 25%, with US revenues gaining 20% in the quarter to £126 million ($157 million)
  • Zejula: £81 million ($101 million), up 93%, benefiting from a favourable comparison with the first quarter of 2019 as the product was acquired part way through that quarter via GlaxoSmithKline's takeover of Tesaro
  • Established pharmaceuticals sales: £2.1 billion ($2.6 billion), down 7%
  • Established respiratory product sales: £965 million ($1.2 billion), down 11%
  • Seretide/Advair: £395 million ($491 million), down 19%, with Advair revenues falling 40% in the US due to generic competition, while the decline in sales for Seretide slowed to 5% in Europe, where the effects of generic competition were partially offset by increased COVID-19-related demand
  • Consumer healthcare sales: £2.9 billion ($3.6 billion), up 44%

Looking ahead:

GlaxoSmithKline continues to expect adjusted earnings per share this year to decline in the range of 1% to 4% at constant exchange rates. The company noted that this is based on its current assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the guidance will be "updated if needed as more information becomes available."

However, the drugmaker warned that it sees "significant risks to business performance for the remainder of the year, and particularly over the next few months." It said these may involve disruptions to manufacturing activities and the supply chain, including third parties, further restrictions in its ability to conduct clinical trials, as well as limits on the ability for patients to access certain treatments, particularly vaccines such as Shingrix, while government containment measures are in place.

GlaxoSmithKline stated that its "primary aim" now is to develop multiple adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccines using its adjuvant technology, adding that it is currently collaborating with seven companies and institutions worldwide, including Sanofi, Clover Biopharmaceuticals and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Pipeline updates:

GlaxoSmithKline indicated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has seen a slowdown in recruitment for clinical trials, adding that it has "proactively paused recruitment" in some studies. The drugmaker noted that it currently has a number of medicines undergoing regulatory review and, at this time, does "not anticipate any significant delays to regulatory approvals due to the pandemic."

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