Roche, Trimeris Report Positive Results for T-20 in Drug-Experienced Patients
Pharmaceutical companies Trimeris Inc. of Durham, N.C., and Roche Holding AG of Switzerland yesterday announced that an experimental drug being developed jointly by the two companies has helped reduce HIV levels in patients who have developed resistance to other therapies, the Wall Street Journal reports. In one of two studies that will be presented next week at an AIDS meeting, 50% of the 46 participants who received the drug, called T-20, in combination with other antiretroviral drugs demonstrated significantly reduced levels of HIV after 48 weeks. All of the patients had advanced cases of AIDS and previously had been exposed to all types of antiretroviral drugs. Although the results do not indicate "an answer to the rising problem of drug resistance," the results of the study are "positive," according to AIDS researchers. The results indicate that T-20 may provide an "added benefit" for those who cannot keep HIV "under control" with the antiretroviral drugs alone, Trimeris CEO and CSO Dani Bolognesi said. T-20, an injectable "advanced" fusion inhibitor that works by blocking HIV infection of cells, is currently being tested on about 700 people in two separate studies. If the results of the larger studies are similarly positive, the drug companies plan to apply for FDA approval of T-20 "sometime in the second half" of 2002. If approved for marketing, T-20, which must be injected several times each day, is expected to be "expensive," the Journal reports (Waldholz, Wall Street Journal, 2/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.