Brainstorm Health: Obamacare Enrollment, Cloned Dog, GSK-Pfizer Deal

Sy Mukherjee

December 19, 2018

Hello and happy hump day, readers.

In a somewhat expected move, and under the new leadership of CEO Emma Walmsley, British pharma mainstay GlaxoSmithKline is finally breaking up—but only after a significant new joint venture announcement that will create the world’s largest consumer health care unit.

GSK and U.S. drug maker Pfizer announced on Wednesday that they’ll pool together their formidable consumer health divisions before spinning it off into an independent company that will carry a heavyweight portfolio of over-the-counter products like Advil, Nicorette, and Excedrin. That represents a massive transformation for GSK (and a change of pace for Walmsely, who had previously indicated that she would keep with her predecessor Andrew Witty’s strategy of keeping Glaxo’s various units under one roof).

“[The split is meant to] support our number-one priority, which is strengthening the pharma business,” said Walmsley during a conference call. “[It will allow us to] reset the balance sheet of two focused companies with the appropriate capital structures.”

This is likely to be the last major move that Walmsley makes this year, capping off a series of major changes under her stewardship. GlaxoSmithKline, which has been seen by some analysts as lacking in new drug development, has struck high profile partnerships with firms such as DNA testing outfit 23andMe and a $5.1 billion deal to snatch up cancer-focused biotech Tesaro to boost its R&D pipeline in the past year.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee

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