RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – GlaxoSmithKline and the world received good news on Friday when the US Food and Drug Administration approved GSK’s new malaria drug. A significant step toward eradication of the deadly disease has been taken, GSK and its partner declared. However, you may not have heard much about that.

Rather, most of the attention about GSK over the weekend was the result of the Financial Times, which reported that the company – which has a major presence in RTP – may be headed for a breakup.

All the talk comes just ahead of GSK’s latest quarterly earnings announcement on Wednesday in London. Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley is expected to talk about her stated efforts to step up research and development.

“[I]nvestors will learn about crucial next steps in her drive to raise the performance of GSK’s pharma division when her handpicked head of R&D, Hal Barron, gives his first official view of business priorities and direction,” the Financial Times reports.

“His presentation is particularly significant because GSK’s chairman Philip Hampton is mulling a demerger of the consumer business — which makes products like Sensodyne toothpaste and the Horlicks malted drink — from the separate pharma and vaccines divisions in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, GSK and Medicines for Malaria Venture, or MMV, saluted the FDA decision on the malaria drug.

Noted Dr. Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President of Research and Development, GSK: “Today’s approval of Krintafel, the first new treatment for Plasmodium vivax malaria in over 60 years, is a significant milestone for people living with this type of relapsing malaria. Together with our partner, Medicines for Malaria Venture, we believe Krintafel will be an important medicine for patients with malaria and contribute to the ongoing effort to eradicate this disease.”

Added Dr. David Reddy, Chief Executive Officer of MMV: “The US FDA’s approval of Krintafel is a major milestone and a significant contribution towards global efforts to eradicate malaria. The world has waited decades for a new medicine to counter P. vivax malaria relapse. Today, we can say the wait is over. Moreover, as the first ever single-dose for this indication, Krintafelwill help improve patient compliance. We are proud to have worked side-by-side with GSK for more than a decade to reach this point. Our focus is now on working to ensure the medicine reaches the vulnerable patients that need it most.”

Read more about the drug online.