IPM Enters Into a Preliminary Agreement With GlaxoSmithKline to Explore Potential of Anti-HIV Compounds as Microbicides

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) has announced that it has entered into a material transfer agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) under which GSK will select and provide proprietary anti-HIV compounds to be tested for possible use as microbicides.


"GlaxoSmithKline has a long history in antiviral development, as well as the broadest antiviral portfolio and pipeline in the industry," said IPM CEO Dr. Zeda Rosenberg. "IPM's agreement with GSK marks the beginning of an important chapter in the quest to identify and develop new topical HIV

prevention technologies that could be used by women."


In pursuit of this quest, IPM has taken a comprehensive approach to

identify a topical anti-HIV microbicide that includes different classes of

anti-HIV compounds, including compounds that could disable HIV prior to

contacting the cell or prevent it from multiplying once it enters cells.

Experts agree that the most effective microbicides will likely use a

combination of preventive technologies to ward off the virus.


 "This is precisely the kind of collaboration needed between the public and

private sectors to develop innovative ways to prevent HIV," said Richard

Klausner, MD, executive director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's

Global Health program.  The Gates Foundation is a major contributor to IPM,

which has also garnered contributions from the governments of Denmark,

Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom, as well as the

Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, and UNFPA.


Microbicides are considered a promising prevention tool in developing

countries, where women's socioeconomic status and dependence on men often

leave them unable to negotiate safe sex practices.  Women are also far more

susceptible biologically than their male partners to contracting HIV from

sexual exposure. These two factors have combined to fuel the epidemic among

women, who now represent 60 percent of new HIV infections in Sub-Saharan



Young African women aged 15-24 are three times more likely to be infected

than their male counterparts.  Developing an effective microbicide that can be

initiated and used by women is a crucial step in combating the AIDS epidemic.

Together with a comprehensive strategy emphasizing the importance of

abstinence and condoms, an effective microbicide could prevent millions of new

HIV infections each year.


Established in 2002, the IPM seeks to deliver a safe and effective

microbicide for women in developing countries as soon as possible. The IPM

identifies the most promising technologies and invests its resources to help

develop them into usable products.


Given current scientific advancements and the identification of a number

of potential microbicidal agents, an effective microbicide could be developed

by the end of the decade with the necessary financial support. To achieve this

goal, IPM also strives to accelerate product development by building

production and formulation expertise, building clinical trial capacity in

developing countries, establishing appropriate regulatory pathways for

microbicide products, and planning for widespread and affordable distribution

of these products.


Source: The International Partnership for Microbicides; GlaxoSmithKline