Britain’s largest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has announced its 2018 financial results, showing that the company is making progress in rebuilding its pharmaceutical pipeline despite competition from generics.

However the company has also gone on to say that it expects profits to be hit now by new competition for its blockbuster asthma drug Advair which saw a 20% loss.

Respiratory products sales amounted to £2bn, a 5% increase on 2017 and additionally HIV sales grew 10% to £1.3bn.

The whole year together led to total pharmaceutical sales figures of £17.3bn.

Chief Executive, Emma Walmsley, said: “On a total basis, earnings per share more than doubled to 73.7p and adjusted earnings per share were up 12% CER.

“We have seen good progress in 2018 in operational performance, in reshaping the portfolio, and in strengthening the pipeline, and we’ll be building on this progress in 2019.

“In innovation, we will be focused on strengthening the pipeline further, particularly our growing portfolio of assets in oncology.”

The earnings come just a day after GSK announced an agreement with Merck KGaA to jointly develop experimental immunotherapy M7824 (bintrasfusp alfa) – a deal that is potentially worth up-to to $4.2bn.