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