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Flu focus pays off for GSK

gsk logo 10 09.bmpGlaxoSmithKline has announced a rosy set of third-quarter financial figures, and is going to be boosted by the ongoing H1N1 outbreak.

The company says it expects further growth in the fourth quarter “including significant sales of influenza products”.

“In Europe, we received approval for Pandemrix, our pandemic H1N1 vaccine. This follows more than 10 years of investment and effort into research of pandemic influenza. To date we have announced orders worldwide for approximately 440 million doses of the vaccine,” says CEO Andrew Witty.

Witty also says the company is beginning to see the outcome of its attempts to move away from “white pill/western markets”. While total sales at GSK were up 3%, emerging market sales were up 25% and now represent 14% of its pharmaceutical turnover versus 12% last year. Under 30% of sales were from white pill and western markets, versus 38% in the second quarter of 2008.

The Daily Telegraph says analysts expect sales of GSK’s Pandemrix to hit £1bn in the fourth quarter and Relenza to reach £180m.

The Financial Times notes:

Upgrading GSK from “hold” to “accumulate”, analysts at Charles Stanley concluded: “The company is evolving much more smoothly than we anticipated from a business dependent on blockbuster products to one based on strong and diversified franchises.”

Gbola Amusa, pharmaceuticals analyst with UBS, was also positive. “It was a solid quarter . . . GSK has turned the corner on a difficult year,” he said in a research note. But, like Bernstein Research in a separate note, he flagged the need to study progress in the company’s pipeline of future patented products.

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