GSK recently reported 4Q17 and full-year 2017 earnings in a call led by CEO Ms. Emma Walmsley. Sales of GLP-1 agonist Tanzeum (albiglutide) dropped 63% YOY as reported (58% operationally) and 36% sequentially to £14 million ($19 million) in 4Q17, from a base of £38 million ($47 million) in 4Q16 and £22 million ($29 million) in 3Q17. For 2017 as a whole, Tanzeum sales totaled £87 million ($112 million), of which £83 million ($107 million) came from the US. This global revenue represents a 28% YOY decline as reported (31% operationally) from £121 million ($164 million) in 2016.
GSK management announced in the company’s 2Q17 update that they would discontinue support for the GLP-1 agonist, a decision prompted by an overall restructuring of the pharmaceutical portfolio and the ever-disappointing commercial performance of Tanzeum. GSK has been quiet about the timeline of this withdrawal, but it seems the impact of the decision is taking hold.
These sales represent accelerated YOY and sequential decline; revenue grew 12% YOY in 1Q17, fell 21% YOY in 2Q17, and fell again 24% YOY in 3Q17. Tanzeum held 2% of the $1.6 billion GLP-1 agonist market by value in 3Q17, but our calculations for 4Q17 put it at 1% of the $1.9 billion market.
While Tanzeum’s fate has been unfortunate, our sense is that albiglutide is a less efficacious molecule than liraglutide (Novo Nordisk’s Victoza), dulaglutide (Lilly’s Trulicity), exenatide (AZ’s Bydureon and Byetta), and semaglutide (Novo Nordisk’s recently-launched Ozempic). We remain very optimistic about the GLP-1 class, in terms of volume/sales growth as well as continued innovation. And, we hope to see GSK re-enter the field of diabetes one day.
-- by Ann Carracher, Payal Marathe, and Kelly Close