Europe’s largest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has posted turnover of £24.4 billion for 2008, slipping 3% from the previous year amid difficult marketing conditions.

The group’s earnings per share (before taking the ongoing restructure into account) dropped 9% to 104.7 pence at constant exchange rates, though climbed 6% in sterling terms.

For the fourth quarter, the company’s turnover also fell 3%, to £6.9 billion, while earnings plummeted 23% to 26.7p.

GSK also announced, as expected, that it is expanding its restructuring programme to garner annual cost savings of £1.7 billion by 2011 and “radically change” its business model.

With regard lob losses, the group’s Chief Executive Andrew Witty said the company is “conscious of the effect this programme will inevitably have on our employees, and if options exist where we can achieve our financial goals and preserve jobs we will do everything we can to do so”.

And he said the company enters 2009 “with confidence” and that it expects to make “further good progress in implementing our strategic priorities that will enable us to meet our long-term objective of reducing risk and delivering sustainable growth to shareholders.”

More details on GSK’s results and restructure will follow

Asthma drug shines in Phase II
Meanwhile, GSK and its partner Theravance have reported promising results from three Phase II trials of their inhaled experimental asthma drug fluticasone furoate.

Once-daily administration of the drug produced statistically significant improvements in patients’ lung function compared to placebo in each of the trials at all doses except for the lowest tested, “demonstrating that fluticasone furoate shows promise as an efficacious, once-daily inhaled corticosteroid,” GSK said.