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GSK replaces head of US operations

Deidre Connelly to be replaced by Jack Bailey

GSK - logo on building 

GlaxoSmithKline has replaced the head of its pharmaceuticals unit in the US, which saw sales decline 12% last year on weakness in its respiratory business.

Deirdre Connelly is immediately standing down as president, GSK North America Pharmaceuticals after six years in the role and will be succeeded by Jack Bailey, who was most recently senior vice president for policy, payers and vaccines.

The US pharma unit's fortune have been hit by flagging sales of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) blockbuster Advair (budesonide/salmeterol), which lost a quarter of its turnover last year and, according to GSK's guidance, could repeat that in 2015.

GSK needs its new generation of asthma and COPD therapies - including long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) and long-acting beta agonist (LABA) combination Anoro (vilanterol and umeclidinium bromide) and Advair follow-up Relvar/Breo (fluticasone furoate and vilanterol) - to get off to a flying start in the increasingly competitive respiratory sector.

In a statement, Abbas Hussain, GSK's president of global pharmaceuticals said the US marketplace "has changed significantly, with an exceedingly competitive payer landscape," adding that "as a result, the entire sector is facing new challenges due to pressures on price and access."

Analysts have suggested Bailey's payer role was a key driver for the handover, and Hussain noted that he "has been credited with successfully managing a rapidly changing healthcare environment, including the implementation of healthcare reform and an increased focus on the value of medicines."

Bailey will also be tasked with pushing through a restructuring initiative in the US, with recent reports suggesting the company plans to cut 900 jobs will be lost at its Research Triangle Park (RTP) R&D campus along with a reshaping of its commercial operations aimed at saving $1.6bn a year.

Analysts at UBS issued a report late last week suggesting that GSK's fortunes may be set to change, thanks to buoyant growth at its ViiV subsidiary - which makes HIV therapies - and its vaccines business.

"For the first time in over a decade, we see scope for substantial earnings growth in the coming three-five years," they wrote, predicting combined sales of $4.6bn for HIV drugs Triumeq and Tivicay by 2018 and $1.4bn for its shingles vaccine HZ/su.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th February 2015

From: Sales, Regulatory

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