Johnson & Johnson and GSK Team Up to Develop HIV Combo Pill

June 13, 2014

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit and ViiV Healthcare, an HIV-focused arm of GlaxoSmithKline, will team up to combine their two HIV treatments into a single HIV combo drug, the companies announced.

The tablet will combine Janssen’s non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), Edurant (rilpivirine) and ViiV's integrase inhibitor Tivicay (dolutegravir) in an effort to reduce patient side effects and potentially challenge Gilead’s best-selling AIDS medicine Atripla — a combination of three drugs.

Atripla generated $3.6 billion in 2013 sales, Gilead said. However, Atripla uses NRTIs which have been linked to organ damage.

Edurant prevents HIV from replicating itself in cells while ViiV’s Tivicay blocks an enzyme that allows the virus to crack its host’s DNA, the companies said.

Patients who start on the standard three-drug combination therapy could later switch to this new two-drug treatment, they noted.

The two companies said they plan to get start formulation and clinical work in the coming months, and they plan further studies to develop a pediatric version of the combo. — Kellen Owings

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