In January, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) new head of pharmaceuticals Luke Miels issued a blunt challenge to his managers: find budget savings of 20 percent. Miels – a long-time protege of AstraZeneca (AZN.L) CEO Pascal Soriot, whose departure sparked a legal spat between the rival drugmakers – is a key lieutenant for Walmsley as she tries to overhaul the core pharma business. The unit has lagged rivals like Novartis (NOVN.S) and Merck & Co (MRK.N) in producing multibillion-dollar blockbusters, so Walmsley has prioritised plans to refocus both its research and marketing efforts in a drive for fewer but bigger new drugs.
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