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What to look forward to in 2011
Dec 21, 2010

Nelson, do you think 2011 will be a good year for HIV. What are the main things we should be excited about? Vic

Response from Mr. Vergel

Vic

Great question. Thanks for asking it. It made me think about important milestones that we will reach this coming year.

Here are things I am looking forward to (I focus on the treatment area since that is what I follow, please excuse me for not including access and prevention issues ):

1- The continuing development of GSK572 integrase inhibitor and ibalizumab. GSK572 is once a day pill made by GSK that so far has shown great results in people who have developed resistance to Isentress. Ibalizumab is a monoclonal antibody that is administered every two weeks by IV (and the company is also developing a subcutaneous version) manufactured by Taimed, a small biotech.

2- The start of a expanded access program for GSK572 and ibalizumab for patients with no treatment options left.

3- The launch of two once a day combo pills for naive patient (QUAD and TMC278 (rilpivirine) + Truvada)to compete with Atripla. Both will not have the central nervous system related side effects that Atripla has (bad dreams, poor sleep, fatigue, depression). I hope Gilead and Tibotec do not get too greedy by pricing these drugs fairly and cheaper than Atripla (Atripla costs $18,000 a year), and that they move fast to provide them to the developing world (Atripla so far has moved very slowly in its worldwide use).

4- The continuing research for the cure of AIDS with stem cell and genetic engineering. I am following this area very closely. Funding and barriers to patient enrollment are still problems. Safe compounds that can help flush HIV reservoirs without side effects also also needed.

5- The launch of Egrifta for the treatment of visceral fat related to HIV lipodystrophy. I am hopeful that insurance companies and Medicare Part D will pay for it and that Serono will not price correctly. I am also looking forward to seeing if the patient assistance program for this drug will work as well as some of us hope.

6- Improvements in facial lipoatrophy product reimbursement. We are currently having issues in low reimbursement amounts for doctors and trying to get Medicare to increase those rates so that more people can access Sculptra and Radiesse treatments to correct their faces. I will be launching a book on lipodystrophy that will cover all details before May 2011.

I could list more, but these are the main treatment related developments that I think will be most exciting and feasible for 2011.

Nelson



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