GSK share price: Severe asthma drug succeeds in late-stage trials

on Mar 13, 2014
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Listen, Thursday, March 13: GlaxoSmithKline Plc (LON:GSK) has reported positive results from two late-stage trials on mepolizumab, a drug for severe asthma. The UK pharma giant hopes to file for regulatory approval for mepolizumab later this year with the drug marking the first non-inhaled treatment for severe asthma.

GSK’s share price has advanced about 0.2 percent in London this morning.
**GSK reports positive results for mepolizumab**
GSK said yesterday in a statement that a pivotal phase III study of mepolizumab had met its primary endpoint, which was reducing the frequency of attacks in patients with a disease called severe eosinophilic asthma. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell.

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A second phase III study showed that patients taking mepolizumab every four weeks were able to reduce their use of daily oral corticosteroids while maintaining asthma controls.
GSK said the drug was administered to patients intravenously or through subcutaneous injections in the first study, and through subcutaneous injections in the second study.
“For GSK it is exciting that this is the first non-inhaled treatment for severe asthma,” Dave Allen, head of research and development at GSK’s respiratory therapy unit, said in the statement, adding that the company would “be progressing towards global filings at the end of the year”.

Last month, GSK started a late-stage trial for mepolizumab to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the compound for the treatment of patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, a rare disease characterised by inflammation in the walls of small blood vessels. (GSK share price: Drugmaker announces start of late-stage trial for mepolizumab) Mepolizumab is also being investigated for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

**Respiratory push**
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Barclays expects mepolizumab to add £400 million to GSK’s revenue by 2021, while Deutsche Bank forecasts £300 million in mepolizumab sales by 2018.
Respiratory drugs are one of GSK’s key areas with sales rising seven percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The company’s flagship Advair drug however has been facing competition from cheaper generics approved in Europe.

GSK recently reported that a couple of its COPD drugs, co-developed with US biopharma company Theravance Inc (NASDAQ:THRX), had received positive opinions by the European Medicine Agency, one of the last steps preceding regulatory approval in Europe. (GSK share price: Pharma giant closes in on another COPD drug approval in Europe) GSK has said that its respiratory pipeline includes other compounds co-developed with Theravance as well as several other investigational medicines including mepolizumab.
**Analysts on GSK**
Deutsche Bank today reiterated its ‘hold’ rating on GSK with a price target of 1,620p. Earlier this week analysts at Citigroup reaffirmed their ‘neutral’ rating on the UK pharma giant with a price target of 1,810p, while Barclays reiterated its ‘equal weight’ rating on the stock with a price target of 1,780p. GSK currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 1,732.18p.
**As of 08:02 UTC, buy GSK shares at 1649.50p.**
**As of 08:02 UTC, sell GSK shares at 1647.50p.**


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