ViiV Vows Joint Venture Will Help Fight HIV
November 10, 2009
On Nov. 3, drug makers Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline officially launched their joint HIV venture, a company called ViiV Healthcare. Some observers hail the effort as a way of sharing the business risks and costs of drug development. Others are wary it may precede a complete withdrawal from a HIV drug market under pricing pressures, though GSK officials deny any "exit strategy."
Some advocates, however, wonder whether the joint venture is to be sold off, with GSK and Pfizer following Roche's lead in leaving the HIV market. For instance, ViiV is not approaching third parties about combining treatments -- an approach taken by its competitor and HIV drug market leader, Gilead. Atripla is a combination treatment of drugs owned by Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb. When asked, Limet said there are no current talks with other partners to license their therapies, nor is ViiV seeking external funders or non-executive directors from outside the parent companies.
"We want to know if they're trying to spin off a less profitable line to focus on more lucrative targets," said Mark Herrington, head of New York-based Treatment Action Group. "We'd love to be proved wrong here. With ever earlier recommendations to treat HIV, novel compounds for treatment and prevention are urgently needed."
11.03.2009; Andrew Jack