Glaxo Aims to Double Blockbusters in Bid to Revive Portfolio


GlaxoSmithKline Plc set an ambitious goal of more than doubling the number of blockbusters in its portfolio by 2026 as the British pharma giant moves to revive its product lineup.

Medicines including lung cancer drug Zejula and an antibody treatment against Covid-19 could achieve blockbuster status -- annual sales of more than $1 billion -- in the next five years, Hal Barron, Glaxo’s chief scientific officer, said at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, according to a copy of his remarks. Barron listed more than 10 products that could cross that threshold, adding to 10 blockbusters the company already has.

Glaxo believes those vaccines and medicines in the late-stage portfolio “could change medical practice,” Barron said in his presentation. “Successful development of these assets underpins our confidence in the accelerated performance we expect to see as we move through 2021 and beyond.”

Glaxo has lagged peers including U.K. rival AstraZeneca Plc and sought to rejuvenate its pipeline. In 2018, the company put its consumer-health arm into a joint venture with Pfizer Inc. as part of an effort to refocus on drug development and expand into lucrative fields such as oncology. The same year the company bought cancer-drug maker Tesaro Inc. for $5.1 billion, followed by a $4.2 billion collaboration with Germany’s Merck KGaA.

Other products that Glaxo hopes will reach blockbuster status include: HIV drug cabotegravir, a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus for older adults, and a therapy for severe asthma.

The drugmaker is developing potential Covid vaccines with partners including Sanofi, Canada’s Medicago Inc. and China’s Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc, along with possible antibody treatments. The company’s candidate with Sanofi was dealt a setback last month, delaying advanced trials after it failed to produce a strong enough response in older people. That pushed its potential availability to the end of this year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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