International – GSK’s says depot HIV injection works over three years

The injection could rival Gilead’s single-tablet therapy

GlaxoSmithKline’s bid to develop an alternative to daily dosing of HIV drugs has made further progress, with new data backing the efficacy of a regimen given every four or eight weeks.

Three-year results from the phase 2b LATTE-2 study of cabotegravir and rilpivirine, given by injection, show that the pair kept HIV levels suppressed in 90% of the eight-week doing group and 83% of the four-week group after 160 weeks of treatment, with “good overall tolerability”, according to GSK’s ViiV Healthcare unit.

Moreover, patients in a control arm receiving standard oral antiretroviral therapy (ART) who elected to swap over to the injectable regimen after 96 weeks did so without loss of viral suppression, with viral levels in 97% of the bimonthly dosing group and 100% of the monthly group still under control by the end of the trial.

ViiV’s chief medical officer John Pottage said the new data – which was presented at the HIV Glasgow Drug Therapy meeting in Scotland – “may provide an alternative to daily pills, reducing the number of annual doses from 365 to 12”.

The combination of ViiV’s integrase inhibitor cabotegravir with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine – a drug already sold by Janssen as Edurant – is just one of the two-drug combinations GSK is hoping will simplify HIV therapy for people with the virus, and reduce exposure to active ingredients in the hope of limiting side effects…