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PHARMA - GLAXO AIDS DRUG

Glaxo Smithkline in pact with IAVI to develop AIDS drug

BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT


 

23 June, 2005: Global vaccine major Glaxo Smithkiline (GSK) Biologicals has entered into a pact with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to develop an AIDS drug with an exciting new technology.

The pact aims to promote research and development of GSK’s non-human primate adenovirus vaccine vector as a key element of a probable AIDS vaccine, according to GSK Biologicals.

The GSK-IAVI pact envisages provision of technical expertise and funding from IAVI to enhance the technology, the company said in a posting on its web site. The technology uses non-infectious vaccine vectors to stimulate specific immune responses directed against Human Immuno Virus. The vectors are derived from adenoviruses, which were originally isolated from non-human primates. Adenoviruses have been engineered to be non-infectious and capable of efficiently delivering genes expressing HIV proteins to the immune system. IAVI will contribute technical expertise and funding, and GSK and IAVI researchers will form a joint R&D team. The pact is the first ever in AIDS research the IAVI is entering with a vaccine firm

The IAVI-GSK research team would initially focus on vaccines designed to elicit immune responses against variants of HIV that circulate predominantly in Africa. Phase-1 clinical trials would be conducted after pre-clinical evaluation, GSK said. Seth Berkley, MD, President and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative said the pact aims to accelerate the development of an AIDS medicine. 

Jean Stéphenne, President and General Manager of GSK Biologicals, the Rixensart, Belgium-based unit of GlaxoSmithKline PLC, said GSK was pursuing three scientific avenues to research an effective AIDS vaccine. The partnership will help us to accelerate the evaluation of these technologies, and can be extended in the future, he said, in the posting on the company web site.

World leaders are expected to meet in Scotland next month to add on to previous commitments to aid research of AIDS vaccines as well as other diseases which plague developing countries like Tuberculosis and Malaria. The British government has proposed an International Finance Facility for Immunization and advance-purchase commitments to spur private investment in vaccines against diseases of the developing world..
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization working to accelerate the development of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. Founded in 1996 and operational in 23 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates.

AIDS is a fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981. The virus was isolated in 1983 and was ultimately named the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). 

The World Health Organization estimated that between 2.8 and 3.5 million people with AIDS died in 2004. An estimated 60% of cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa.


BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT

 

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