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GSK racked up 1.4 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) in COVID-related sales in 2021, largely for antibody drug sotrovimab, as it beat quarterly forecasts in its first earnings report since rejecting a bid from Unilever for its consumer arm.

The drugmaker also said it expected pandemic-related sales in 2022 to be at similar levels to 2021 but said these would contribute less to profit due to lower margins on its antibody treatment.

GSK's sotrovimab, developed with Vir Biotechnology, is one of the few COVID-19 treatments shown to have worked against the fast-spreading Omicron variant, spurring huge demand. It was amongst GSK's top selling offerings in 2021.

Sales of sotrovimab, or Xevudy, were 828 million pounds in the fourth quarter, up from 114 million in the third quarter and well above market expectations of 774 million pounds.

Unilever won't up £50bn offer for GSK-Pfizer unit

Adjusted earnings for the British drugmaker stood at 25.6 pence per share for the three months to Dec. 31, while turnover rose 13% to 9.53 billion pounds at constant currency rates.

Analysts expected group fourth-quarter earnings of 23.8 pence per share on sales of 9.49 billion pounds, a company-compiled consensus consensus showed.

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