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ViiV chalks up another win for two-drug HIV regimen

Once a month injection matches triple oral therapy

GlaxoSmithKline unit ViiV has shown that a two-drug HIV regimen given just once a month by injection can match the efficacy of daily, oral dosing with triple therapy.

The results of the ATLAS study enrolled people with HIV who were already controlling the virus using an oral regimen of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (RTIs) plus a third drug. After switching to the injectable regimen of integrase inhibitor cabotegravir and Johnson & Johnson’s non-nucleoside RTI rilpivirine, the patients showed similar efficacy after 48 weeks’ treatment, with ViiV’s combination just as good at suppressing viral load.

If approved, the new regimen could allow HIV patients to be freed from having to take daily doses of antiretrovirals for the first time drug treatment for the infection first became available in 1987. It also gives ViiV another fillip in its long-standing battle for supremacy in the HIV market with arch-rival Gilead Sciences.

Gilead was the first company to bring a single-tablet triple therapy to market and is still the dominant player, but has been losing market share to ViiV over the last few years due to the success of drugs like oral integrase inhibitor Tivicay (dolutegravir) and triple regimen Triumeq (dolutegravir/lamivudine/abacavir).

Central to ViiV’s new product strategy is a series of two-drug therapies designed to make dosing easier and reduce exposure to active ingredients in the hope of limiting side effects.

Last month for example, ViiV showed that an oral formulation of Tivicay with nucleoside RTI Epivir (lamivudine) was as effective as a three-drug cocktail of dolutegravir plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine – two non-nucleoside RTIs – in previously-untreated HIV patients.

Meanwhile, in May it picked up EU approval for Juluca, which pairs dolutegravir with rilpivirine and is thought to be a key product for ViiV to help offset emerging competition from Gilead’s new fixed-dose Biktarvy (bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) triple.

The overall value of the HIV market is not expected to change dramatically in the coming years, according to GlobalData, although there will be a shift towards greater use of simpler, single-tablet regimens and the big-selling products will change.

John Pottage

ViiV's John Pottage

Discussing the ATLAS data, ViiV’s chief scientific and medical officer John Pottage said: “This novel approach is another step towards potentially reducing the treatment burden for people living with HIV.”

“If approved, this regimen would give people living with HIV one month between each dose of antiretroviral therapy, changing HIV treatment from 365 dosing days per year, to just 12.”

ViiV and J&J are also collaborating on the ATLAS-2M study, which will see if the dosing frequency of cabotegravir and rilpivirine can be reduced to once every two months without compromising antiviral efficacy.

Article by
Phil Taylor

15th August 2018

From: Marketing

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