Glaxo announces HIV deal as CEO prepares to unveil vision for future

Emma Walmsley is facing questions over her future at the top of the business.

August Graham
Tuesday 22 June 2021 15:50
GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has said that a new deal puts it at the “forefront” of HIV treatment, as under-pressure boss Emma Walmsley prepares to lay out her vision for the company.

The business said that it had agreed a global collaboration with New York-listed Halozyme Therapeutics which gives GSK exclusive access to one of its HIV prevention drugs.

GSK subsidiary ViiV Healthcare will originally pay 40 million dollars (£28.7 million), with future payments reaching up to 175 million dollars (£126 million) depending on certain milestones.

The scientists hope that the treatment can allow HIV patients to take long-acting medicines, rather than having to take a dose every day.

“Many people living with HIV and those vulnerable to HIV tell us that for a variety of reasons, taking medicine every day is a challenge, and we have listened to them,” said Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at ViiV Healthcare.

“We believe long-acting medicines are the future of HIV therapies and will help address these unmet needs.”

It is a win for Ms Walmsley, who may have to face down concern from a major US activist investor as she puts GSK on a new path.

She will lay out details of her plans at an investor update on Wednesday.

The business is set to split into a pharmaceuticals business, dubbed the New GSK, and a consumer healthcare business some time next year.

Alistair Campbell an analyst at Liberum, said that investors will be focused on what growth the new business is targeting.

He expects GSK to target sales growth of 6% per year over the next half decade. Ms Walmsley is also likely to tell investors whether the consumer healthcare division will be spun off or listed in a separate initial public offering.

He said that a part-IPO could allow GSK to invest in its pipeline of drugs.

The stakes were upped in April when US activist Elliott Management took a multi-billion pound stake in GSK, and there have been questions over whether Ms Walmsley should continue to lead the New GSK.

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