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First START Results Show Early HIV Treatments Reduces Risk of Illness and Death

Long-awaited interim findings from the START trial have shown that people with HIV who were randomly assigned to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) while their CD4 count was above 500 cells/mm3 had a 53% lower risk of AIDS-related and non-AIDS illnesses and deaths compared to those who waited until their count fell below 350 cells/mm3, according to an announcement today from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


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BHIVA 2015: Many People with HIV Willing to Take Part in Cure Research Despite its Risks

There is a strong interest among people living with HIV in research towards an HIV cure, with many potential participants willing to consider antiretroviral treatment interruption. Respondents to a survey presented at the British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference this week in Brighton generally understood that they would be unlikely to benefit personally from cure research. Priorities for a cure were to eliminate health problems and the risk of HIV transmission, rather than necessarily testing HIV-negative.


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DHHS Updates Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines for Adults and Children

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released updated versions of its antiretroviral treatment guidelines for adults and adolescents, and for children with HIV. The new adult guidelines include revised recommendations for first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) as well as management of treatment-experienced patients. The revised pediatric guidelines include a discussion of very early treatment for HIV-infected infants.


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Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Reduces HIV Viral Load in Early Human Study

A novel broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody known as 3BNC117 inhibited HIV replication its the first Phase 1 clinical trial in humans, according to a letter in the April 8 online edition of Nature. A single infusion of 3BNC117 reduced HIV viral load by up to 2.5 logs and viremia remained significantly lower for 28 days, the researchers wrote.


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Gilead Requests Approval of Tenofovir Alafenamide Dual Combination Pill

Gilead Sciences has requested U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a combination pill containing emtricitabine plus tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), a new formulation that is easier on the kidneys and bones, according to a company press release. If approved, the new coformulation could take the place of Truvada for HIV treatment, though its effectiveness for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is not yet known.


Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or TDF (Viread, also in Truvada, Atripla, and other Gilead single-tablet regimens) is one of the most widely used antiretroviral drugs. TAF is a pro-drug that delivers the active agent to HIV-infected cells more efficiently than TDF. TAF produces adequate intracellular drug levels with lower doses, which means lower concentrations in the blood plasma and less drug exposure for organs and tissues.

As reported at the recent 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic infections, Phase 3 studies have shownthat a single-tablet regimen containing TAF, emtricitabine, elvitegravir, and cobicistat was equally effective at suppressing HIV but hadless detrimental effects on the kidneys and bones than the existing Stribild coformulation containing TDF.

Below is an edited excerpt from a Gilead press release describing the TAF/emtricitabine new drug application. The company has also requested approval of the 4-drug single-tablet regimen described above, and stand-alone TAF is being developed as a treatment for hepatitis B.

Gilead Submits New Drug Application to U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Fixed-dose Combination of Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide for HIV Treatment

Potential New Backbone for Future HIV Therapy Combinations

Foster City, Calif. -- April 7, 2015 -- Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) today announced that it has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two doses of an investigational fixed-dose combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide (200/10 mg and 200/25 mg) (F/TAF) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients age 12 years and older, in combination with other HIV antiretroviral agents.

TAF is a novel nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor(NRTI) that has demonstrated high antiviral efficacy at a dose less than one-tenth that of Gilead’s Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, TDF), as well as improved renal and bone laboratory parameters as compared to TDF in clinical trials.

"Gilead has a long history of innovating HIV treatments, and with F/TAF we have the potential to further optimize therapies for HIV patients who face a lifetime of antiretroviral treatment," said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Gilead Sciences. "With its high antiviral efficacy and favorable safety profile, F/TAF may offer an improved backbone for a new generation of HIV regimens."

Today’s filing is Gilead’s second F/TAF-based NDA submitted to the FDA for review.  In November 2014, Gilead filed an NDA for an investigational once-daily single tablet regimen containing elvitegravir 150 mg, cobicistat 150 mg, emtricitabine 200 mg, and TAF 10 mg (E/C/F/TAF). Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the FDA has set a target action date of November 5, 2015. Additionally, a Marketing Authorization Application in the European Union for E/C/F/TAF was fully validated on December 23, 2014.

The F/TAF NDA is supported by data from Phase 3 clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of E/C/F/TAF for the treatment of HIV-1 infection among treatment-naive adults, in which the F/TAF-based regimen (administered as E/C/F/TAF) resulted in non-inferior efficacy and improved renal and bone laboratory parameters as compared to F/TDF-based therapy (administered as E/C/F/TDF or Stribild).The NDA is also supported by data from additional Phase 3 studies evaluating the F/TAF-based regimen (administered as E/C/F/TAF) among treatment-naive adolescents, virologically suppressed adults who switched regimens, and adults with mild-to-moderate renal impairment. Lastly,bioequivalence studies demonstrated that the formulation of the fixed-dose combinations of F/TAF achieved the samedruglevelsin the blood as in E/C/F/TAF.

The recommended dose of F/TAF is 200/25 mg; if it is used in combination with a protease inhibitor that is administered with either ritonavir or cobicistat, the recommended dose is 200/10 mg.

Additional F/TAF-based regimens for HIV treatment are currently in development. In December 2014, Gilead announced the expansion of its existing agreements with Janssen Sciences Ireland UC for the development and commercialization of two new investigational once-daily single tablet regimens containing F/TAF. One combines F/TAF with Janssen’s rilpivirine. The other regimen contains F/TAF, cobicistat and Janssen’s darunavir.

Gilead plans to submit a regulatory application for F/TAF in the European Union in the second quarter of 2015.

F/TAF-based regimens are investigational products and have not been determined to be safe or efficacious.

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need.  The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.



Gilead Sciences. Gilead Submits New Drug Application to U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Fixed-dose Combination of Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide for HIV Treatment. Press release. April 7, 2014.

Long-time Researcher Discusses Myths About HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Cure

Over the 3 decades of the epidemic a number of misconceptions have arisen about HIV infection, how the immune system fights the virus, and how best to treat and potentially cure it, along with a number of important questions that remain unanswered, according to an opinion article in the April 13 advance edition of Trends in Molecular Medicine by Jay Levy from the University of California at San Francisco, one of the first researchers to study HIV. The trend toward earlier antiretroviral therapy and treatment-as-prevention are among the issues he contests.


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Trial of CCR5-Deleted Stem Cell Gene Therapy for HIV Gets FDA Go-Ahead

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to proceed with a clinical trial of a gene therapy method that cuts the gene for the CCR5 coreceptor out of stem cells, making them resistant to HIV entry, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) recently announced.


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