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GSK long-acting HIV injection succeeds in study

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By Reuters
GSK long-acting HIV injection succeeds in study
FILE PHOTO: The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo on top of GSK Asia House in Singapore, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Loriene Perera   -   Copyright  Loriene Perera(Reuters)

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline’s <GSK.L> prospective two-monthly two-drug injection to treat HIV was as effective as a monthly dose of the same regimen in maintaining viral suppression at 48 weeks in a late-stage study, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.

The long-acting needle-based combination of its drug cabotegravir and Janssen’s treatment rilpivirine met its main goal in the study, which was testing the regimen in adults with HIV-1 whose virus was suppressed.

The patients were also not resistant to either of the two drugs, said ViiV Healthcare, London-listed GSK’s HIV unit.

“This is further progress in our efforts to reduce the number of medicines a person living with HIV must take while also reducing the frequency of treatments,” said Kimberly Smith, Head of Research & Development at ViiV.

Current HIV treatments include three-drug daily oral pills and two-drug pills. The latest study shows people with HIV could maintain viral suppression with six treatments per year, thereby reducing toxicity from the number of drugs they have to take.

The HIV-1 category has the most widespread strains of the AIDS-causing virus, which severely affects the body’s immune system.

Janssen, U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson’s <JNJ.N> pharmaceuticals unit, also announced the results from the study in a separate statement and said further details will be presented at a scientific meeting.

The results from the study also boost GSK’s prospects against Gilead Sciences <GILD.O>, the U.S. drugmaker that dominates the HIV market, as ViiV works to develop shorter therapies.

Pfizer <PFE.N> and Japan’s Shionogi <4507.T> also hold stakes in ViiV.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)