Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb To Work Together To Develop Single Daily Combination Antiretroviral Drug
Pharmaceutical companies Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb on Monday announced a collaboration to develop the first single daily combination antiretroviral drug to treat HIV/AIDS patients, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. The combination pill could be approved and marketed by late 2006 because the three individual drugs already are FDA approved, according to David Rosen, a Bristol-Myers Squibb spokesperson. The combination pill would include Bristol-Myers Squibb's Sustiva and Gilead's Viread and Emtriva, according to the AP/Chronicle (Johnson, AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/20). Gilead, since it will provide two of the three drugs, will assume 67% of the costs and receive 67% of the revenue, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The current wholesale price of the three drugs sold separately is about $35 a day. However, the companies have not stated the projected cost of the combination antiretroviral drug if it is approved for sale in the United States, according to the Mercury News (Jacobs, San Jose Mercury News, 12/21). The companies first will seek approval in the United States and then in Europe and Canada, according to the AP/Chronicle. A single dose pill would make it "much easier" for HIV/AIDS patients to keep up with their medication, according to the AP/Chronicle. Currently, antiretroviral treatment requires patients to take several pills a day, sometimes at specific times and under certain conditions, making it "extremely difficult" to abide by the "complex schedule," according to the AP/Chronicle (AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/20).
"Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb share a steadfast commitment to addressing the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world, and today's announcement signals significant progress toward our common goal," Gilead President and CEO John Martin said, adding, "This landmark partnership reflects the dedication Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb bring to delivering simplified therapy to physicians and patients." Bristol-Myers Squibb Chair and CEO Peter Dolan said, "We are pleased to be leveraging our leadership in HIV through this collaboration with Gilead to help advance the management of the disease through the development of potentially more convenient treatment options" (Gilead release, 12/20). "To have it all in a single pill is terrific," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said. "It's the first time ever that two companies with competing products have worked together," Dr. Michael Saag, director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, said, adding, "This is something patient advocates and a lot of physicians have been pushing for over a decade" (AP/Houston Chronicle, 12/20).