Janssen enters collaboration with ViiV Heathcare to develop single-tablet HIV treatment

Janssen R&D Ireland, Ltd., announced on Thursday that it had entered an agreement with ViiV Healthcare to develop a single-tablet regimen for maintenance treatment of HIV.

The treatment will be developed using Janssen's non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor rilpivirine and ViiV's integrase inhibitor dolutegravir. The companies will also continue research into the development of a treatment for children using the same combination.

"HIV remains a significant medical challenge, and our goal is to find new treatment regimens for patients," Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen worldwide chairman, said. "We are pleased to collaborate with ViiV Healthcare in pursuing this shift in the HIV treatment paradigm and reaffirm our commitment to collaborate and develop new HIV treatments and fixed-dose regimens."

Clinical development of the new single-tablet treatment is slated to begin this year.

Current HIV-drug therapy uses a combination of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and either a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, protease inhibitor or integrase inhibitor. If successful, the Janssen tablet will allow patients living with virologically-suppressed HIV to switch from the three-drug treatment.

Approximately 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV, with 2.5 million becoming newly infected every year. Approximately 75 million people have been infected with the virus since the beginning of the HIV epidemic.