GSK shakes up its R&D
London - GlaxoSmithKline re-adjusts its €3.7bn R&D budget. Following a review, three of 38 R&D units will be cut and four new ones installed, the UK drug company said in a statement on 7 Februray. Furthermore, six of the discovery units (DPUs) will get more money over the next years, while the budget of five will be cut. The shakeup is the outcome of a review started in November 2011. A panel of GSK executives and external experts heard presentations from the majority of its 38 DPUs. Scientists from each unit told the panel what they want to do over the next three years. In 2008 GSK broke up its R&D operations in tightly knit research groups of five to 70 scientists, who have to win their three-year based on performance. GSK is not the only one to look for a new R&D approach. British-Swedish rival Astra Zeneca hopes on outside innovation. Recently it announced that it will shift the search for external pre-Phase III assets into R&D, in a move to make the more and more important business development more science driven. GSK relies more on in house R&D and thinks it is on the right way. "I am very pleased with the energy, approach and productivity we are seeing from our scientists in these units", says Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK. Indeed, the return rate on the money spent on late stage pipeline projects was 11%. In 2011 it climbed o 12%, and Witty has declared he wants to push that rate to the 14% mark in the near future. Alas, even GSK is not immune against the odds of the pharmaceutical development business. On the same day of the announcement of the R&D successes GSK said that it had paused enrolment in its current Phase IIb clinical trials of GSK2251052 (GSK ‘052) for the treatment of complicated urinary tract infections due to a recently identified microbiological finding.