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GlaxoSmithKline plans five launches for 2007

Published on 09/02/07 at 03:48pm

GlaxoSmithKline is planning to launch five new products in 2007, bringing to an end a long period for the company where major launches have been few and far between.

Since the merger of GlaxoWellcome and SmithKline in 2001, the company has had no major brand launches to excite investors, with line extensions of existing products and growth of blockbusters Seretide/Advair and Actos helping to increase sales.

But chief executive Jean Pierre Garnier told investors at the company's 2006 results presentation that its research and development restructuring, which began in 2001, was now paying off.

The five products are breast cancer pill Tycerb, nasal allergy drug Allermist, anti-clotting treatment Trexima, cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix and a new extended-release version of heart drug Coreg.

Garnier says GSK's pipeline of new drugs will help it cope with a loss of £60 billion of revenues threatened by generic competition on some of its leading brands in the next few years, including anti-depressant Wellbutrin.

He emphasised the strong "reloadability" of the GSK pipeline compared with its rivals, which meant that if a late-stage lead candidate has to be abandoned, a back-up molecule would be available to replace it.

Overall company turnover in 2006 rose 9% to £23.2bn (£21.7bn), including a 16% rise in US pharma sales while pre-tax profits increased 16% to £7.8bn (£6.7bn).

GSK also announced plans to add to its network of quasi-independent drug discovery centres called CEDDs, with the creation of units specialising in inflammatory diseases and infection.

The company is also pursuing a "progressive" dividend policy and share buy-backs of £6 billion over three years.

Garnier said: "This is a good day, we've had a great set of results and we are a lot stronger company than we were a year ago."

The FDA has just approved an over-the-counter launch of weight-loss treatment Alli, marketed as prescription-only Xenical by Roche.

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