Sales were up 10% and earnings per share 28% on the same period last year. Free cash flow of £600 million will be returned in full to shareholders via the quarterly dividend, while the £1 billion invested in acquisitions has been financed by ongoing disposals of GSK's remaining shares in Haleon - its former consumer healthcare division, to be spun off in summer 2022.

Momentum is largely driven by the success of Arexvy, GSK's recently launched vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus; by record sales of Shingrix, the vaccine that cures shingles infection in a single injection; and by the resilience of the HIV franchise, which saw sales grow by 12%.

At the same time, investors finally seem to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after a painful period of uncertainty surrounding Zantac. This heartburn treatment is accused by some civil parties of being highly carcinogenic. A Morgan Stanley note referred to a dispute that could cost those responsible for marketing it up to $45 billion.

The danger has not been entirely averted, but initial court rulings have so far gone in favor of the defense. Among the defendants, Sanofi got off lightly. These factors are undoubtedly behind the stock market performance of GSK shares, which will lead their sector in Europe in 2024, just behind Novo Nordisk.

More generally, the British group is to be applauded for having bounced back from two major failures in its oncology pipeline, and for having successfully reoriented its business portfolio towards vaccines - a category of treatments with superior economic performance.

By the end of 2023, the stock had fallen below the ten-times-earnings floor. The success of Arexvy enabled GSK shares to rebound immediately, and the share price recovered to its historical average valuation of fifteen times earnings.

There are still many challenges ahead. For example: the case of Zantac, which has not yet been buried; the loss of patent exclusivity for dolutegravir - the HIV treatment - which is due to expire in 2028, even though it currently accounts for one-sixth of sales; and the revitalization of the oncology pipeline, currently the Group's poor relation.

At Haleon, the strong selling pressure induced by the sale of shares by Pfizer and GSK - the two former parents of the group that owns Sensodyne toothpaste and Voltaren anti-inflammatory products, among others - has not weighed too heavily on the group's valuation.