UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has recorded its best annual results since its formation 6 years ago, with operating profit for the full-year 2005 up 16% (at constant exchange rates) at £6.9 billion, and earnings per share jumping 18% to 82.6 pence.

Growth was driven by a particularly strong quarter, which saw operating profit leap 20% to £1.6 billion on an 8% sales hike to £5.9 billion, as well as robust performances by the group's key products, propelling total yearly revenues up 7% to £21.7 billion.

Commenting on the results, JP Garnier, GSK's chief executive, said: "GSK’s fourth quarter performance was a great finish to an excellent year for the company. Looking into 2006, the strong growth seen from key products such as Seretide/Advair, Avandia and from our vaccines business is set to continue, and we expect further good news on GSK’s late-stage pipeline. Eight major assets are scheduled to enter phase III in 2006 – this will double the number of assets in late-stage development. I am also delighted that Cervarix, our cervical cancer vaccine, is expected to be filed for approval in Europe in the next few weeks and in the USA before the end of the year.”