Roche Able to Produce More Fuzeon Than Expected
David Reddy, head of drug maker Roche's HIV division, today at the International AIDS Society's 2nd Conference on Pathogenesis and Treatment announced that the company expects to be able to supply 50% more of its new antiretroviral drug Fuzeon by the end of 2003 than originally expected, Reuters reports (Reuters, 7/15). The FDA on March 13 approved the drug, which is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications and is the first drug in seven years that uses a new method to fight the virus. Fuzeon is in a new class of drugs called fusion inhibitors, which prevent the virus from entering cells by prohibiting the virus from attaching to cell membranes. Roche and pharmaceutical company Trimeris had projected that they would be able to supply the drug worldwide to between 12,000 and 15,000 patients in 2003 and to approximately 32,000 by the end of 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/21). Roche now expects to be able to produce the drug for 18,000 patients by the end of the year and to make further manufacturing improvements by removing "production bottlenecks" at its Colorado plant, according to Reuters (Reuters, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.