GSK, after consumer spinoff, touts momentum for core products Cabenuva and Shingrix

With GSK’s consumer healthcare spinoff now in the rearview mirror, the company is operating as the lean, innovative medicines-focused drugmaker CEO Emma Walmsley envisioned years ago (PDF). 

And 2022’s financial performance shows the company’s promise as it seeks to grow sales by at least 5% annually through 2026. All told, GSK generated 29.3 billion pounds sterling in revenues last year, a 13% increase over 2021 at constant exchange rates. The company's total profit totaled 6.4 billion pounds, a 31% increase from the prior year. Both the revenue and profit figures came in ahead of analyst expectations.

Even before GSK's corporate reshaping, which culminated with last summer's Haleon spinoff, the company has long held a leading presence in the HIV field via its ViiV Healthcare joint venture. Within the HIV franchise, GSK's new long-acting injectable therapy Cabenuva started to come into its own in 2022. The drug generated 340 million pounds last year, a sizable jump from 38 million pounds in 2021, when it won its initial FDA approval in January of that year. 

So far, 60% of patients on Cabenuva are switching from drugs sold by GSK’s competitors, while 40% are transitioning from a ViiV offering, Deborah Waterhouse, GSK’s president of global health, said on a conference call Wednesday. On the reimbursement front, GSK has been able to negotiate "good coverage across all of the payers and all of the key accounts,” she added. 

Apretude, the company’s long-acting HIV prevention drug, has seen “very strong” demand after its approval in late 2021, Walmsley said Wednesday. Its sales totaled 41 million pounds in 2022. Like Cabenuva, GSK says it has negotiated favorable coverage for the drug in the U.S., so the company expects the launch to continue to gain steam in 2023.

Vaccines are another major financial driver for the company. GSK's star vaccine, Shingrix for shingles, suffered from a pandemic slowdown in 2020 and 2021, but the product is rolling once again. Riding a “post-pandemic rebound,” Shingrix delivered a record year in 2022, Chief Commercial Officer Luke Miels said on the call. Sales reached 2.9 billion pounds last year, a whopping 60% increase from 2021. 

GSK is also anticipating another big vaccine launch this year. The drugmaker submitted its respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidate to regulators in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The shot is expected to become a blockbuster and vie for market share in this new arena against players such as Pfizer, Sanofi and Moderna. 

Even as GSK rode momentum in vaccines and HIV, its oncology outfit suffered some setbacks in 2022. For one, GSK in November pulled multiple myeloma drug Blenrep from the U.S. market after the drug failed to meet its primary endpoint in a confirmatory study. In another ongoing challenge, Zejula "continues to be impacted by lower diagnosis and treatment rates," GSK said in its Wednesday earnings release (PDF). 

Despite those troubles, GSK's oncology business pulled down 602 million pounds in global sales last year, good for 17% growth compared with 2021. 

Summing up the company's recent progress, Walmsley said 2022 was a “landmark year for GSK as a newly focused global biopharma company with big ambitions."

Looking forward, GSK said it expects sales to increase between 6 percentage points and 8 percentage points in 2023. The company expects operating profit to grow 10% to 12%. The guidance came in consistent with analyst expectations, according to a note from ODDO BHF analysts.