Gates Foundation Grant Will Support Development of Topical HIV Medications
April 1, 2003
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Monday it will give $60 million to the International Partnership for Microbicides, a nonprofit organization dedicated to speeding the development and distribution of topical means of preventing HIV transmission like foams or gels.
The grant is the largest ever for microbicide research and development. IPM said that $500 million will be needed to bring a microbicide to market. IPM CEO Zeda Rosenberg said it now has "a meaningful down payment" toward development of an affordable drug to prevent HIV sexual transmission. "Several products are languishing at different stages of the development pipeline," Rosenberg said, "and a limiting factor in all cases is money."
Development of microbicides is likely to fall in large part to nonprofit groups, experts say, because microbicides will be of most use to poor women in sub-Saharan Africa, a market that offers little profit potential to drug companies.
Dr. Helene D. Gayle, director of the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health program at the foundation, said that several microbicides nearing the last stage of clinical trials are inexpensive to manufacture, but the applicators needed to administer them could bring their costs close to 50 cents a dose. "What would be affordable would be pennies a dose," Gayle said.
New York Times
04.01.03; Stephanie Strom
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.