GlaxoSmithKline shares slipped 3% on weak pricing in Europe, which overshadowed the pharmaceutical companyÂs promise to return to sales growth in 2012.
Shares of Glaxo (GSK), the United KingdomÂs largest drug maker were off $1.42 to $45.76 in afternoon trading.
The company said first-quarter net profit was down 13% year over year, to 1.33 billion pounds ($2.15 billion); the year-ago period included one-time gains from the sale of GlaxoÂs stake in Quest Diagnostics. Sales rose just less than 1%, to 6.64 billion pounds, lower than the 6.79 billion analysts were expecting.
Sales were strong in the United States, and Glaxo said it will continue to buy back shares. It also defended its hostile bid for Human Genome Sciences (HGSI), saying GlaxoÂs existing interests make it the compelling owner.
The company said a prepared release that:
ÂWe remain mindful of the challenges we face given the current global political and economic environment, particularly in relation to pricing on our more established products. However, we also continue to see attractive growth opportunities across our businessesÂ including positive 2012 pipeline data Âfor five Phase III assets for the treatment of HIV, cancer, diabetes and asthma.Â