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GSK’s 2011 sales dip but Witty confident for 2012

Company expects sales to return to growth this year

GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) sales fell 3 per cent to £27.4bn last year as the company was hit by increased generic competition and the loss of revenues from its key diabetes drug.

Avandia faced prescribing restrictions US and was withdrawn from the market entirely in Europe after it was linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

But sales for 2012 are expected to return to growth and GSK said it expects to complete development programmes for another six late-stage products and indications.

These include asthma treatment Relovair, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug LABA/LAMA and albiglutide for type 2 diabetes, although in November it did disappoint in a phase III trial when compared to Novo Nordisk's Victoza (liraglutide).

The remaining three products are skin cancer therapy BRAF, HIV/AIDS treatment dolutegravir and malaria vaccine Mosquirix.

CEO Andrew Witty acknowledged development of its type 1 diabetes candidate otelixizumab had been halted during 2011, but said “overall the balance of 'progression versus failure' was positive for GSK”.

Witty said GSK was “working hard to try and reposition the group for exactly this period that we knew would come” with the company looking to make the most of patent losses for rival companies and increased price pressures.

He said: “We feel like we are moving into a new era for the company and we now need to focus on absolute disciplined execution to make sure that we take advantage of all of the opportunities that we've worked so hard to try and create for ourselves.”

GSK also saw gains due to restructuring efforts, which have reportedly seen annual savings of £2.2bn for the company since being implemented in 2007.

8th February 2012

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