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  • Conversation: FOCUS-GlaxoSmithKline prescribes commercial reboot for pharma division

    • March 21, 2018 10:06 AM GMT
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      FOCUS-GlaxoSmithKline prescribes commercial reboot for pharma division

      LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - In January, GlaxoSmithKline's new head of pharmaceuticals Luke Miels issued a blunt challenge to his managers: find budget savings of 20 percent.
      The plan was to pool the savings and reallocate the money to priority medicines and markets for Britain's biggest drugmaker, according to people familiar with the meeting.
      The tough demand startled some GSK veterans who are used to a more consultative approach, said the sources. But it is a sign of the harder commercial edge new Chief Executive Emma Walmsley - almost 12 months into the job - is bringing to a company whose shares have moved sideways for years.
      Miels - a long-time protege of AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, whose departure sparked a legal spat between the rival drugmakers - is a key lieutenant for Walmsley as she tries to overhaul the core pharma business.
      The unit has lagged rivals like Novartis and Merck & Co in producing multibillion-dollar blockbusters, so Walmsley has prioritised plans to refocus both its research and marketing efforts in a drive for fewer but bigger new drugs.
      Miels declined to comment in detail on his budget demand, including the savings figure of 20 percent, but confirmed the strategic goal of achieving a leaner, meaner commercial footprint to match a recently pared-down research and development (R&D) operation.
      The aim is to concentrate sales and marketing resources on new products, particularly lung drug Trelegy and shingles vaccine Shingrix, in 10 big markets - ranging from the United States, major European countries and Japan to China, India and Russia, he told Reuters.
      "In R&D, we're trying to pick which assets are most productive and are going to add the most value to patients. Well, we need to do the same thing in the commercial organisation," Miels said.
      "That is something that will become more visible over time and it is a process that we are going through now ... the strategy is more advanced than is visible externally."

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