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Gilead, Merck is developing a long-acting HIV treatment together

The deal will see Gilead pay 60% of development and marketing costs. (AP photo)

New York: US drug companies Gilead and Merck announced today that they are partnering to develop a new HIV treatment that can replace daily medications with one that can be taken more often.

The companies said in a statement that the two companies aim to combine two of their existing drugs “to provide new and meaningful treatment options for people living with HIV,” the virus that causes AIDS.

“While single-pill regimens are available daily for people with HIV, options that allow for less frequent, oral or infrequent injections rather than daily dosing have the potential to address preference considerations, as well as issues associated with adherence and privacy, she said Companies.

The first clinical trials of the oral version of the new treatment are expected to begin in the second half of the year.

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, developed islatravir, which is taken once a month and is currently being evaluated as a treatment for HIV infection in combination with other antiretroviral drugs once daily.

Islatravir is also evaluated as a preventative against HIV infection if taken on a monthly basis.

Gilead is working on lenacapavir, which is the subject of several clinical trials, offering one of them as a subcutaneous injection given every six months to treat and prevent HIV.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will pay 60% of development and marketing costs, and the two companies will initially share revenue equally from the new treatment, if approved by the organizers.

If sales exceed $ 2 billion annually for the oral treatment or $ 3.5 billion for injection, Gilead would have 65% of revenue above that threshold.

About 38 million people were infected with HIV worldwide as of the end of 2019, according to the World Health Organization.

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