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GSK offloads 300 million shares in Haleon for $1.2 billion

GSK Plc announced that its subsidiary ViiV Healthcare got a green light from the European Commission for the company’s HIV prevention medicine.

HQ Team

January 19, 2024: GSK is giving up more of its stake in Haleon, the consumer health business the British pharma giant spun off in 2022 for about $1.2 billion, according to a  securities filing.

The company is divesting 300 million shares in Haleon, leaving GSK with a 4.2% stake, down from about 13% in 2022, The pharma giant said in a statement that it is part of a “disciplined and pragmatic approach” to divesting its stake, and further divestiture is “dependent on market conditions.”

The spokesperson said the proceeds will be “deployed against GSK’s capital allocation priorities.”

Pfizer was GSK’s joint venture partner in Haleon. A separate listing in 2022 left Pfizer holding 32% of the new firm’s shares. Pfizer hasn’t yet sold its stake. The New York pharma and GSK have agreed not to sell any Haleon shares in the next 60 days following GSK’s latest sale. 

Pfizer said in 2022 that selling its stake is in line with its “transformation into a more focused, global leader in science-based innovative medicines and vaccines.” The company declined to comment further on Thursday.

Bolstering pipelines

GSK and Pfizer both are adding to their pipelines through dealmaking. Earlier this week, GSK revealed plans to buy clinical-stage asthma biotech Aiolos Bio for $1 billion. In April it invested $2 billion in Bellus Health.

GSK also forked out $270 million to Hansoh Pharma for its two antibody-drug conjugates.

“Our first priority for capital allocation remains to invest in pipeline delivery, both organically and with continued targeted business development,” GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said during a presentation at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference last week.

Pfizer, on its part, has invested  $43 billion in ADC specialist Seagen.  It is also concentrating on cost-cutting efforts following the post-Covid sales downturn and aims to save around $4 billion by end-2024.

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