iNVEZZ.com, Friday, June 13: GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (LON:GSK) majority-owned specialist company ViiV Healthcare has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) Janssen R&D unit to develop a new HIV treatment combining two drugs in a single tablet.
GSK’s share price has lost about 0.1 percent in London this morning.
**GSK’s ViiV in collaboration with Janssen**
ViiV Healthcare announced yesterday in a statement that it had entered into an agreement with Janssen R&D Ireland Ltd for the development and commercialisation of a single-tablet drug combining ViiV’s Tivicay, also known as dolutegravir, and Janssen’s Eduran, or rilpivirine.
ViiV explained in the statement that combining dolutegravir and rilpivirine into a single tablet would provide an option to people living with HIV to switch from a standard three-drug therapy to a two-drug combination.
“New options that advance current therapies are increasingly important as patients and clinicians consider HIV care over the long term,” John Pottage, ViiV’s chief medical officer, said in the statement. “Through this collaboration with Janssen we aim to develop a new combination therapy that meets the needs of patients, and adds to our scientific understanding of dolutegravir.”
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Studies are expected to begin by the first quarter of 2015 and will investigate the two-drug combination regimen as an HIV maintenance therapy for patients already virally suppressed on a three-drug regimen. ViiV and Janssen will further look into the development of paediatric fixed-dose formulations combining dolutegravir and rilpivirine.
Bloomberg has noted that, if successful, the new single-tablet treatment would help ViiV challenge Gilead Sciences Inc’s (NASDAQ:GILD) Atripla, which combines three drugs in one and is the world’s best-selling AIDS medicine having generated $3.6 billion (£2.1 billion) in sales last year.
Yesterday’s agreement marks ViiV Healthcare’s first external collaboration to develop a single-tablet regimen with another company’s branded product and is part of the ViiV’s strategy to expand its portfolio of dolutegravir-based therapies.
In January, ViiV’s Tivicay won regulatory approval in Europe for use in combination with other anti-retroviral medicines for the treatment of HIV-infected adults and adolescents above 12 years of age. (GSK share price: ViiV Healthcare’s Tivicay gets European approval) The drug, which is also approved in the US, is expected to be a significant revenue-driver for GSK which is the biggest shareholder in ViiV Healthcare. The FTSE 100 company’s partners in the venture include Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and Japan’s Shionogi & Co Ltd (TYO:4507) which hold minority stakes.
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