GlaxoSmithKline: Don’t count on a Shingrix rebound this year, but 2022 will bring ‘record sales’October 27, 2021
GlaxoSmithKline’s shingles vaccine Shingrix delivered a stellar quarter, but thanks in part to the delta variant, it doesn’t look like the shot will recover to last year’s levels.
Shingrix sales soared 41% at constant exchange rates to £502 million in the third quarter, which came 22% ahead of industry watchers’ expectations. It was an unusual performance given U.S. scripts remain way below last year’s levels.
To hear GSK’s pharma chief Luke Miels tell it, the growth didn’t come from people actually getting the vaccine from retail pharmacies. Instead, the showing was fueled by wholesale inventory building, and a large proportion of injections came from doctors’ offices.
For the entire year, GSK expects Shingrix sales to follow a similar pattern as it had in the first nine months combined, which was a decline of around 11%, as many people prioritized their COVID-19 vaccinations.
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Shingrix’s drop in demand clearly correlated with a surge in the delta variant as people didn’t want to go to retail pharmacies, Miels said during a conference call Wednesday. But the trend is pointing to recovery. In GSK’s market research, among people who were fully vaccinated for COVID-19, a shingles vaccine was listed as the second shot they most wanted to get, behind a flu vaccine, Miels said.
When retail pharmacies started prioritizing COVID vaccinations, GSK made what then seemed like a risky move but is now paying off, Miels explained: It assigned the marketing team for respiratory disease inhalation Trelegy to target doctors and promote the shingles vaccine. There may be some under-reporting of scripts at doctors’ offices, he noted.
Considering those factors and launches outside the U.S., GSK is confident in Shingrix’s recovery, Miels said. For 2022, GSK sees a “record year” for Shingrix with double-digit sales growth, he said. For the longer term, the company believes Shingrix could double its revenue in five years from 2020.
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Elsewhere in GSK’s portfolio, Trelegy chalked up an impressive 77% sales increase in the third quarter to £326 million. The drug still holds 90% share in the three-in-one inhaler market in the U.S. despite the introduction of AstraZeneca’s rival Breztri a year ago.
The company’s novel two-drug HIV regimen Dovato chipped in £110 million during the three months, more than doubling its sales from last year. Despite the pandemic suppressing overall drug switching, Dovato has gained share. Dovato holds 15.3% share of the switch market in the U.S. and 27.8% share in Europe, Deborah Waterhouse, CEO of ViiV Healthcare, told investors during the call.
ViiV is also on track for a major expansion. Cabotegravir, a component used in the company’s long-acting HIV treatment Cabenuva, earned…