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J&J pledges $500m investment into HIV and tuberculosis R&D

Aims to help eliminate both diseases by 2030

J&J

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will invest more than $500m over the next four years in research and development programmes focused on HIV and tuberculosis, with an aim to eliminate both diseases by 2030. 

The company’s pharma unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has a strong stake in both therapy areas, and plans to establish a dedicated team to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of novel treatments, including vaccines, for both diseases.

J&J aims to complement the investments being made by governments around the world to tackle the prevalence of both potentially deadly conditions.

Using this investment, J&J has said it will continue to advance various investigational vaccine regimes to help prevent HIV.

It already has an ongoing efficacy trial – the Imbokodo study – which is testing a HIV preventive vaccine regimen in 2,600 women, which is fully enrolled across approximately five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Additionally, the company is about to start a second efficacy trial – the Mosaico study – in 3,800 high-risk men in North America, South America and Europe.

J&J is also partnered with GlaxoSmithKline subsidiary ViiV Healthcare on a long-acting injectable two-drug regimen for the treatment of HIV.

The combination of integrase inhibitor cabotegravir and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine given every four weeks has been shown to be as effective as a standard three-drug oral regime at suppressing levels of HIV.

In the TB therapy area, J&J will work with partners to improve detection methods for undiagnosed cases of the disease, and broaden the access to its targeted TB medicine bedaquiline – since 2016, J&J has been working on a Conditional Access Programme (CAP) to provide the drug free of charge across 156 sites in India.

It also plans to accelerate R&D efforts to aid in the discovery of the next-generation of treatments for TB.

The advancement of J&J presence in TB follows-on from a long history of investment in the area – the company has been working on TB research for nearly 20 years.

In 2017, it partnered with the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) as part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop new treatments for the disease.

Treatments for HIV in particular have seen increasing advancements in recent years – other key players in this field are Gilead, whose next-generation HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment Descovy (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) was recently approved by the FDA.

Another experimental study – called HVTN 702 – is testing a vaccine regimen of the ‘Thai combination’ of Sanofi Pasteur’s ALVAC-HIV and GlaxoSmithKline’s bivalent gp120/MF59.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

7th October 2019

From: Healthcare

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