GSK chief sees big shakeout following R&D showdown

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty believes that the pharma industry is at a turning point. For the first time ever overall R&D spending in the industry is going down as development strategies undergo a top-to-bottom reevaluation. And only a handful of companies will survive the process.

"There is tremendous opportunity for the few companies who solve the R&D equation," Witty told reporters, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's the companies who deliver multiple new products, not one or two, that address material clinical needs of patients and address the economic needs of the payers--so they are fairly priced, if I can put it that way.

"My belief is that 5 to 7 years from today, you'll see a significant number of companies retreat from the pharmaceutical space, one way or another. I think you'll see a few companies solve the problem, and I'm determined that GSK is going to be one of them."

Witty's comments were backed up by the company's late-stage development plan, which we reported on Tuesday. By the end of 2012 GSK said that the company expected more than 30 Phase III read-outs on 14 of its 15 late-stage assets. For Witty to be proved right, a high percentage of those readouts will need to be positive.

- here's the story from the Philadelphia Inquirer