GSK withstands Advair generics, thanks to new respiratory meds and Shingrix

GlaxoSmithKlines been dreading generic Advair for years, but thanks to its newer respiratory meds and the fast-launching Shingrix vaccine, the companys top line is so far managing to hold its own. Mylan launched Wixela Inhub, the first true Advair copycat, in February, and sales of the GSK behemoth plummeted a whopping 61% in the U.S. in the second quarter, to merely £105 million ($131 million). And the new generic put pricing pressure on all similar products, dealing a blow to the rest of GSK's respiratory franchise. Overall, sales of newer respiratory drugs—not counting established meds such as Advair and Ventolin—dropped 2% in the U.S. for the quarter. Still, strong growth from triple-combo Trelegy and biologic Nucala helped push GSK's newer respiratory therapies up by 12% to £752 million. That, along with Shingrix's continued surge and aid from its HIV franchise pushed GSK sales up 5% at constant exchange rates to £7.8 billion. Nucala racked up £195 million in the quarter, up 33% at unchanged currencies and 10% ahead of analysts’ consensus as quoted by Jefferies. In June, the FDA approved two new self-administered versions of Nucala—an autoinjector and a prefilled syringe—helping level the ground in its competition with AstraZeneca’s rival med Fasenra. But the AZ drug, which already boasts a dosing frequency advantage over Nucala—once every eight weeks for Fasenra versus once every four weeks for Nucala—is not far behind. A few days ago, it received EMA backing for its own autoinjector option and is expecting an FDA decision soon this year.

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