GSK's Witty looks to new blockbusters to reverse a bleak trend

GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) track record over the last few years has elicited few cheers. Its pipeline has failed to produce, the FDA throws up new hurdles and CEO Andrew Witty (photo) has to hear the same question about R&D over and over again.

"Andrew, you spend $6 billion a year on R&D. Are you concentrated on what you're doing with it, or is it just a black hole?" he tells Forbes' Robert Langreth.

Witty's response is well known in the industry. He's broken the company's R&D empire into 40 different investigative republics charged with finding new leading drugs with blockbuster potential for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. GSK has also abandoned several development arenas. And it's placing a big bet on emerging markets.

GSK is also closing in on a potential huge win, as regulators consider the case for Benlysta, which could be the first new drug for lupus in decades. Peak sales of the drug--which was developed by Human Genome Sciences--is estimated at $5 billion, with GSK in line for half of that. And at least a few analysts say that Witty can turn it around.

"Glaxo has the best, the brightest, the most booming pipeline in the industry over the next three years," says UBS analyst Gbola Amusa. "Its lower U.S. exposure and higher emerging markets exposure is exactly what you want."

- here's the lengthy article from Forbes