What’s Next for GSK after Letting Go of Consumer Healthcare?


GSK has separated itself from its consumer healthcare business, newly named Haleon, home to brands such as Sensodyne and Advil. Now what?

After underperforming in recent years, a few clinical trials fails and a resulting push for change from its investors, the breakup with its consumer healthcare arm was long-announced and has been underway for some time.

“We are now ready to deliver the most significant corporate change for GSK in 20 years: creating two new, exceptional companies with ambitious targets for growth and with a clear purpose to positively impact the health and lives of billions of people,” stated CEO Emma Walmsley in the company’s 2021 annual report.

“GSK is now officially a biopharma company completely dedicated to getting ahead of disease together,” Walmsley announced on the day Haleon was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

But now that GSK has shed its consumer health side, what is next for the company?  A stronger focus on its biopharma and vaccines divisions without the some 10 billion GBP in debt that riddled its consumer healthcare business.

Specifically, GSK will center its efforts on developing its pipeline, encouraged by recent successes, including the approvals of its HIV prevention drug, Apretude, Jemperli for endometrial cancer, and Xevudy for COVID-19. The company also announced this year the positive phase 3 data for its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate.

In a 2020 PharmaBoardroom interview, Emmanuel Hanon – then Senior VP, Vaccines R&D at GSK, spoke about the prominence of the company’s vaccines division, an area the company already excels in with its shingles vaccine and that has only become more important now with the split.

GSK is also expected to continue to pursue its strategic partnerships and M&A strategy, having secured deals with immuno-oncology company iTeos Therapeutics, and with Alector for two clinical stage monoclonal antibodies for neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the company recently acquired US-based Affinivax, giving it full control of a pneumococcal vaccine candidate, which is set to move into phase 3 in older adults and phase 1/2 trials in children this year.

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