Vaccine sales just the tonic for GSK

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which also owns household brands including Horlicks and Aquafresh, raised its forecasts for the year after second-quarter figures were boosted by a strong performance from its vaccines division.

GSK chief Emma Walmsley said the firm is strengthening its R&D pipeline. Picture: GSK

The company, which employs more than 600 at a site in Montrose, said revenues jumped 7 per cent to £7.8 billion, with pre-tax profits doubling from £614 million to £1.26bn.

Sales in the pharmaceuticals division rose 2 per cent and by 5 per cent in consumer healthcare but the vaccines division saw revenues jump 26 per cent after a particularly strong show from its product for shingles.

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The company also announced that HSBC’s deputy chairman Jonathan Symonds will take over from Sir Philip Hampton as chairman from 1 September.

The results come as GSK continues the completion of its break-up plans, which will see its consumer health division split off into a new joint venture with US rival Pfizer. Chief executive

Emma Walmsley said: “We remain focused on strengthening our R&D pipeline and the execution of new product launches.”

Charlie Huggins, a fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We think these are a solid set of results from GSK, however we aren’t going to get too carried away.

“Confidence in GSK’s drug pipeline is still fairly thin on the ground, and it will be some time before we know whether efforts to reinvigorate performance under new leadership have been successful.”