Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Winston-Salem, N.C.-Based Kucera Pharmaceutical Developing HIV Drug With Fewer Side Effects
Kucera Pharmaceutical Co., just "one of a handful" of drug companies in
Winston-Salem, N.C., developing HIV/AIDS treatments, is working on a new AIDS drug that combines lipids with zidovudine, commonly called AZT, the
Winston-Salem Journal reports (Swartz, Winston-Salem Journal, 1/29). "We need new drugs
-- new, safe, potent drugs," Dr. Philip Furman, a senior strategist and virologist with Kucera, said yesterday at a conference sponsored by the company. Furman added that patients are "running out of options" due to the development of
drug-resistant HIV strains (Deaver, Winston-Salem Journal, 1/30). The new treatment, called INK 20, stemmed from research on an anti-cancer drug created from man-made lipids. Kucera researchers were hoping to develop cancer drugs that could penetrate the membranes of cancer cells and inhibit the cells' growth, and they wondered whether combining lipids with AZT would produce the same effect on HIV. The drug is less toxic than AZT and does not damage bone marrow, which AZT can do, Kucera Pharmaceutical Senior Vice President Louis Kucera said. Russ Read, CEO of Kucera, said he hopes to begin testing the drugs within the next nine to 12 months, but added that it could take seven years for the drugs to come to market. Other
Winston-Salem firms working on AIDS drugs include Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Trimeris, AlphaVax and GlaxoSmithKline. More than 100 AIDS drugs are currently being tested across the country, the
Journal reports (Winston-Salem Journal, 1/29).
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