UK behemoth GlaxoSmithKline is expected today to report second quarter sales down marginally on the previous year at £5.7 billion versus £5.81 billion, with pre-tax profit flat at £1.8 billion.
Analysts at Collins Stewart believe the firm will be adversely affected by the weakness in the US dollar as well as the continuing problems in relation to its antidiabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), which researchers have linked to potential cardiovascular problems, triggering sales of the once multi-billion-dollar drug to plummet.
However, aside from Avandia, the analysts believe GSK is not being attributed its true worth given that over 30 products are currently in Phase III or registration. This year alone, they note, GSK is expected to see 10 launches that will benefit results in 2008.
One of these looks set to be its cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix, which has just been given the thumbs up by Europe's scientific advisory panel and is
expected to receive full marketing authorisation in the next few months. Collins Stewart believe Cervarix has the potential to generate $5 billion in peak sales, significantly more than Avandia's sales last year of $3.2 billion.
Avandia still on everyone's lips
But Avandia is still the word on everyone's lips, with a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel set to meet at the end of the month to evaluate whether the thiazolidinedione class of drugs and Avandia in particular has any adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. Collins Stewart does not anticipate it will be withdrawn, or that it will receive a broader risk profile, rather that it will be given a black box warning for the already known adverse event of congestive heart failure. But despite this, it is trimming its forecasts for Avandia to £1.2 billion from £2 billion previously, having witnessed the recent prescription share decline.
But double-digit sales are expected from GSK's vaccines business, the heart failure medication Coreg (carvedilol) and the anti-epileptic Lamictal (lamotrigine), while the anticancer agent Tykerb should also see a good start following its US launch in March.