GlaxoSmithKline continues to reposition itself under CEO Emma Walmsley
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GlaxoSmithKline continues to reposition itself under CEO Emma Walmsley

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is preparing to reclaim its market-leading position as a cancer killer with the release of three key drug treatments. The renewed focus on cancer is part of CEO Emma Walmsley’s strategy to get GSK’s sales rising, and she presented the three new oncology treatments at a San Francisco conference yesterday. All three treatments are expected to hit the market in the next two years.

GlaxoSmithKline’s share price has increased by 2% so far this year

graph 09 gsk

Source: Yahoo Finance

Two of the oncology treatments mentioned above come to GSK via a sizeable recent acquisition. Last month, the company bought drugmaker Tesaro Inc. for $5.1 billion – specifically so it could get its hands on Tesaro’s oncological expertise. But that’s not the only big move on GSK’s agenda – during December the company also committed to a joint venture with Pfizer that would split up its two major business segments (consumer and pharma).

Speaking to CNBC about her efforts recently, Walmsley said: "I think we have tremendous opportunities to improve both operating performance and to get radical about reshaping our portfolio. We need to place some smart bets, take some risks, and I think when we do that we'll be bringing sustainable shareholder growth and more benefits for more patients around the world."

Since she was appointed to the top job in 2017, Walmsley has overseen the termination of about 80 drug programs (or, in some cases, they’ve been divested). The drugs it still has on its books are the ones that GSK has faith in to succeed. Amongst those remaining drugs are cancer assets like Tesaro’s Zejula (a treatment for ovarian cancer).


Dominion holds GlaxoSmithKline in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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