Pharmaceuticals

Our Pharmaceuticals business develops and makes a broad range of medicines to treat both acute and chronic diseases.

As a business, it is the company’s biggest financial contributor and generated sales of £17.9 billion in 2013, representing 67% of the total turnover of GSK.

The business is focused on a number of global franchises across more than 10 therapy areas and a number of platforms, including the emerging bioelectronics technology. Our portfolio is made up of both patent-protected and off-patent medicines.

Our marketplace

The global pharmaceuticals market is vast – worth £511 billion in 2013 (source: IMS data 2013) - and growing. The biggest areas of growth over recent years have been from the emerging markets and Asia Pacific regions.

This trend of increasing demand is expected to continue as the world’s population grows, economies in the emerging markets become more prosperous and global changes in lifestyles affect long-term health.

Our strategy

Our Pharmaceuticals business creates value by researching and manufacturing innovative products and making these as widely accessible as possible to countries at all levels of income and development.

While we continue to have a strong presence in developed markets such as the USA and Europe, we are increasing investment in emerging markets, including Africa, where we see significant growth potential. Geographically, sales of our existing pharmaceutical products are broadly spread: 36% of total pharmaceuticals sales in 2013 came from markets outside of the USA and Europe (compared to around 31% in 2010).

Our franchises

Our Pharmaceuticals business develops and makes medicines to treat a broad range of acute and chronic diseases. Our portfolio is made up of innovative and established medicines and we have leading global positions in respiratory disease and HIV.

We have been a leader in respiratory disease for over 40 years and have a portfolio of mature products. In recent years, we have strengthened and broadened our respiratory portfolio with the addition of new medicines including an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting beta2 agonist (LABA) combination, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) and LABA dual bronchodilator.

Our HIV business is managed through ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist company in HIV that we majority own, with Pfizer and Shionogi as the other shareholders. ViiV Healthcare is now a leading global company in HIV and has had significant recent success with regulatory approval and industry leading launches of new medicines. ViiV Healthcare has a number of other antiretroviral medicines in clinical development.

Beyond respiratory and HIV, we have a portfolio of other Pharmaceutical products for the treatment of conditions such as lupus, benign prostatic hyperplasia, type 2 diabetes and bacterial infections.

Over the past six years we have built a significant oncology business. In recent years we have had multiple regulatory approvals and global product launches. As part of the proposed Novartis transaction, we have agreed to divest our marketed oncology portfolio, related R&D activities and rights to our AKT inhibitors currently in development. This represents a unique opportunity to crystallise value for shareholders and leverage the global scale that Novartis has in this therapy area to improve patient outcomes.

In addition, we have an Established Products Portfolio (EPP) which includes over 50 off-patent products, as well as our branded generics business and other local products. These products are an important part of our Emerging Markets business where the GSK brand is an important differentiator.

Focus on best science

If we are to continue to discover new medicines and get them to the patients who need them as quickly as possible, we must invest in research. In 2013, over 80% (£2.7 billion) of our total R&D spend (£3.4 billion) was invested into the search for new pharmaceutical medicines. Our strategy is to increase our productivity in R&D and improve our rate of innovation, while we control our costs.

The journey to discovering and developing new medicines is lengthy, expensive and subject to a high rate of failure. Learn more about how we discover new medicines.

We are exploring different approaches to promote – and speed up – innovation in our labs. Having broken down the traditional, industrialised R&D model, our scientists now work in smaller units focused on specific areas of research. This encourages greater entrepreneurialism and accountability. These groups are tasked with seeking out the biological targets involved in disease and creating molecules or biopharmaceuticals that will ultimately become new medicines.

We also know that we won’t discover everything inside our own labs and that we need to partner with other companies, academic institutions and research charities. We currently have research collaborations with more than 3,000 external organisations and this number is growing every year.

We also recognise our responsibility to meet society’s expectations to invest in disease areas where the science is difficult or where the typical business model to reward innovation may not be relevant; one example being our antibiotics research. We are also one of the few healthcare companies researching the World Health Organization’s three priority diseases - HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Find out more about how we are fighting disease in the developing world.