Coronavirus Update: Our team is here to help our clients and readers navigate these difficult times. Visit our Resources page now »

Skip to Main Content

About Glaxosmithkline Holdings (americas) Inc.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) gives anxiety, asthma, and other ailments the ax. One of the top five pharmaceutical firms in the world, GSK's bestsellers include respiratory, neurological, cardiovascular and dermatology drugs, as well as vaccines and antivirals and consumer healthcare products. It boasts four billion-dollar drugs: Advair/Seretide, its stalwart asthma medication; Relvar/Breo Ellipta, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment; and two HIV medications, Triumeq and Tivicay. In the consumer healthcare business, GSK racks up big sales from its Sensodyne toothpaste brand, joint-pain relief medicine Voltaren, and fever relief medicine Panadol. Based in the UK, GSK has customers across the globe. 


GSK operates through three primary segments: Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Healthcare, and Vaccines. Pharmaceuticals is the largest by far, pulling in some 60% of revenue.

The Pharmaceuticals division develops and manufactures drugs for a wide variety of purposes, but with a specialism in drugs that treat respiratory disease and HIV. Asthma medication Advair has been GSK's primary money spinner for many years although it faces intensifying competition from biosimilars and generics. HIV drugs Trimueq and Tivicay are GSK's next biggest, while other respiratory drugs include Relvar/Breo Ellipta, Ventolin, and Flixotide. The division's R&D activity focuses on respiratory, HIV/infectious illnesses, oncology, and immuno-inflammation medicine.

GSK's Consumer Healthcare segment generates around 25% of sales and produces products in the oral health, wellness, nutrition, and skin health categories. Its top sellers are Sensodyne, Voltaren, Panadol, and Theraflu and it holds the #1 position in wellness in more than 35 markets and is a market leader in specialist oral care. In 2019, GSK combined its Consumer Healthcare segment with the consumer health division of Pfizer to create an over-the-counter giant, adding brands such as Advil, Centrum, and Robitussin. GSK owns 68% of the joint venture, which operates as GSK Consumer Healthcare.

The Vaccines segment has around 40 pediatric, adolescent, adult, and travel vaccines on the market in more than 160 countries. Meningitis vaccines Bexsero and Menveo are its biggest earner, followed by flu vaccine Fluarix and Shingles vaccine Shingrix. Sales of vaccines account for more than 15% of GSK's annual sales. 

Geographic Reach

Headquartered in London, GSK has more than 85 manufacturing facilities in 36 countries. The group's major R&D centers are located in the UK, the US, Belgium, and China. It has a presence in approximately 150 countries.

The US is GSK's largest market at more than 35% of sales. Europe generates a quarter. 

The US and Europe pull in around 60% of revenue, but the company's biggest chunk of revenue comes from international markets. Japan is the largest single international market and accounts for nearly 10%.

Sales and Marketing

GlaxoSmithKline markets its products directly to hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, and other health care consumers; it also uses wholesale distributors in some markets and serves customers in more than 150 countries overall.

Financial Performance

Note: Growth rates may differ after conversion to US dollars.

GSK's revenue has been growing strongly since 2014 while profits have been lumpier. 

In fiscal 2018 (ended 16 March) the company grew its sales 8% to £30.2 billion amid growth in all three businesses. Strong sales of its new respiratory and HIV products offset declines in the older drugs in its portfolio, including Advair. Vaccine sales were boosted by good sales in its meningitis and influenza drugs in addition to higher demand for its established vaccine products. In Consumer Healthcare, growth in pain and oral health products offset declines in allergy products in the US. The divestment of a beverages business in Nigeria and the impact of the Goods & Service Tax in India also weighed on sales. 

GSK's net income grew strongly in 2018, albeit from a low base (2017 represented a five-year low in profits). Net income grew 68% to £1.5 billion, mostly due to a reduction in financial asset write-offs and loss from hedging activities. Net income was also impacted by a £848 million increase in R&D expenses and a higher income tax burden.

GSK's cash position reduced by £905 million in 2018, ending the year at £3.6 billion. With operating cash up to £6.9 billion, the company paid down short-term loans by £3.2 billion, spent £1.5 billion on property, plant, and equipment, and paid a £3.9 billion dividend. GSK has a fairly heavy debt load, standing at £13.2 billion, a £600 million reduction on 2017.


While Advair is still GSK's best-selling drug, it has been on the market for a long time and sales have been declining for a while. Further, it faces the imminent threat of the approval of generic competition (although GSK's competitors have hit numerous delays in the approval process due to the difficult task of replicating Advair's active ingredients and inhaler method of administration).

To continue on its upward growth trajectory in the post-Advair world, GSK is pivoting the focus of its R&D efforts towards science related to the immune system, the use of genetics, and investments in advanced technologies. It revised its R&D structure, putting its scientists to work in smaller teams focused on specific areas of research. GSK also has partnerships and research collaboration agreements with around 1,500 outside organisations, such as companies, universities, and research charities.

In 2017 GSK received approval for Shingrix, a shingles vaccine; Juluca, a two-in-one HIV medicine; and Trelegy Ellipta, a once-a-day inhaler.

GSK also has made big changes to its consumer healthcare business. First, it bought out Novartis' stake in their consumer health joint venture for about £9.2 billion in 2018. To fund the purchase, GSK divested some assets, such as its Horlicks nutrition business. Next, it completed a landmark deal with Pfizer to merge their two consumer healthcare businesses, with a plan to demerge the joint venture within five years time as a separate entity. The new business is a global leader in OTC products, with a market share of around 7%. 

Mergers and Acquisitions

In early 2019, GlaxoSmithKline acquired US-based oncology pharma company Tesaro in a £4 billion deal. That deal brought the company Tesaro's newly launched PARP inhibitor Zejula for the treatment of ovarian cancer.  PARP inhibitors have shown promise in treating certain cancers in combination with other drugs.

Glaxosmithkline Holdings (americas) Inc.

Wilmington, DE 19801-1216
Phone: 1 (302) 984-6932

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Employees (This Location): 250
Employees (All Locations): 24,000

Major Office Locations

Wilmington, DE