RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is not interested in acquiring London-based Shire, choosing instead to focus on its drug development efforts, CEO Emma Walmsley said in London on Wednesday.

Walmsley made the comment to analysts during a conference call to discuss GSK’s latest earnings.

Japanese drugmaker Takeda has reached a tentative agreement to buy Ireland-based Shire for $64 billion in one of the biggest pharma deals to date, The Associated Press reported later.

Takeda has offered the equivalent of 49 pounds in cash and stock for each share of Shire, almost 25 percent more than Tuesday’s closing price. Shire Plc said Wednesday that it is prepared to recommend the deal to shareholders, pending agreement on other terms.

GSK (NYSE: GSK) reported a nearly 50 percent drop in year-over-year profits for the quarter to $766 million, citing currency “headwinds,” i.e. a strong British pound.

Earnings did meet estimates from analysts polled at FactSet.

“GSK has continued to make good progress in the first quarter with sales growth on a CER [constant exchange rate] basis across all three businesses,” Walmsley said in a statement.

“We are strongly focused on commercial execution with encouraging starts for our most recent new product launches, Shingrix, Trelegy and Juluca.  This performance combined with continued cost discipline has driven a further improvement in the Group’s Adjusted operating margin at CER.

“We also agreed to acquire full ownership of the Consumer Healthcare business during the quarter [from Novartis], delivering on one of our key capital allocation priorities.  This will help improve future cash generation and support capital planning for the Group’s main priority to strengthen the Pharmaceuticals business and R&D pipeline.”

GSK maintains a research operation in RTP and a manufacturing plant in Zebulon.

Read the full earnings report online.