GSK’s £1bn fight against infectious diseases in low-income countries

GSK to pile £1bn into tackling infectious diseases in low-income countries over the next decade

Vaccines drive: Glaxosmithkline chief exec Emma Walmsley

Glaxosmithkline will pile £1billion into tackling infectious diseases in low-income countries over the next decade.

The pharmaceutical giant’s investment will focus on finding vaccines and medicines to treat malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

GSK also promised an emphasis on antimicrobial resistance and neglected tropical diseases, those affecting people in the world’s poorest regions.

The group has formed a global health unit for which success is measured by ‘health impact alone’, meaning GSK does not expect to make any financial return on its £1billion investment.

The prevention and treatment of infectious diseases primarily affecting lower-income countries is not usually profitable.

Drug companies are under pressure to invest more in tackling infectious diseases and widening access to treatments in developing countries as they focus on lucrative areas such as cancer. 

Malawi’s ministry of health said GSK’s investment was a ‘pivotal step’ in eliminating infectious diseases and creating a ‘healthier and more equal world’.

The drug giant previously developed the first malaria vaccine and is running trials for a potential tuberculosis vaccine. 

It also doubled down yesterday on a commitment to donate the medicine albendazole, which treats lymphatic filariasis and helminthiasis – parasitic diseases caused by microscopic worms – until they are eliminated.

GSK will split next month, which will see its consumer goods business listed as standalone company Haleon on the London Stock Exchange.

GSK will continue as a vaccine and pharmaceuticals company, run by boss Emma Walmsley.