Sector News

U.K. investor Woodford calls again for breakup of 'complicated' GSK

January 11, 2016
Life sciences

In October, high-profile U.K. fund manager Neil Woodford advocated for a four-way break-up of GlaxoSmithKline, a company he said could unlock “significant shareholder value” by splitting apart. And he hasn’t quit championing that idea.

As Woodford told the BBC Friday, GSK is so complicated that it runs itself “like four FTSE 100 companies bolted together”–and, on top of that, the pharma giant doesn’t “do a particularly good job of managing all of the constituent parts.”

Instead, he said, he’d like to see the company “focus on certain activities in the portfolio and do them better than they have done in the past, demerge the bits they haven’t managed particularly well and let other people who specialize in those activities run those businesses.”

It’s basically Big Pharma’s slim-down mantra to a tee. Over the last few years, companies have been hiving off or trading away non-core assets to home in on what they do best; Glaxo itself was part of a multi-billion-dollar asset swap last year with Novartis that sent its oncology meds to Switzerland, bolstered its position in the vaccines market and set up an industry-leading consumer health joint venture.

But the way Woodford sees it, that’s not enough. The sum of Glaxo’s parts is still worth more than its current share price, he told the news service.

If it’s a large-scale restructuring he wants, though, he’ll have to take it up with CEO Andrew Witty, who made it clear on the company’s Q3 conference call that the drugmaker had thoroughly considered–and decided against–any divestment moves. Glaxo has already weighed an established products sale, he said, but “that just wasn’t a good economic transaction to do.”

And as far as a spinoff of surging HIV drugs business ViiV Healthcare–it’s not happening, the CEO said, echoing the decision GSK made last May after weighing a divestment for months.

“We took the decision not to separate it because we believed we were the best owners,” he said. “… And I think we’ve been vindicated since.”

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

Related News

June 13, 2021

Making drug-resistant bacteria susceptible to antibiotics

Life sciences

Antibiotic resistance remains one of the biggest public health challenges. New drugs are still needed to tackle tough-to-treat bacteria. But finding new therapeutics to kill off pathogenic bacteria has been difficult.

June 13, 2021

Vexed by vectors: How COVID-19 vaccine and cell and gene players are tackling the viral vector bottleneck

Life sciences

Viral vectors are engineered viruses used to deliver gene therapies, gene-modified cell therapies and certain vaccines. And their shortage is already upon us, thanks to manufacturing approaches that simply haven’t kept pace with the advance of cell and gene therapies.

June 13, 2021

Beigene expands into cancer cell therapy with Shoreline pact

Life sciences

Beigene, a fast-growing drugmaker based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Beijing, will partner with Shoreline Biosciences to develop cell therapies for cancer, expanding its research beyond the small molecule and antibody drugs.

Send this to a friend