Gilead and Merck share new data from phase 2 HIV treatment trial

Gilead Sciences and Merck (known as MSD outside of the US and Canada) have announced results from the phase 2 clinical study assessing the combination of islatravir and lenacapavir for viral suppression in HIV treatment. The results were presented at the 31st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), and demonstrated that at 24 weeks the investigational combination maintained a 94.2% rate of viral suppression (HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL), which was a secondary endpoint on the trial.
Followingthisdataaroundtheantiviralactivities, as well as the pharmacokinetics profiles of the two drugs, it is expected that the development of this combination will continue.
According to the companies’ press release, ‘The potent antiviral activities, along with pharmacokinetic profiles of islatravir and lenacapavir, support their development as an investigational once-weekly oral combination regimen. Single-tablet daily oral therapies have helped to transform HIV care, but options that allow for less frequent dosing have the potential to address adherence, stigma and other challenges faced by some individuals taking daily oral antiretroviral therapy’.
Jared Baeten MD PhD, vice president, HIV clinical development at Gilead Sciences, commented: “HIV treatment is not one size fits all – developing once-weekly treatment options could help meet the needs of each individual, aiming toward maximising long-term outcomes for people with HIV. This promising data presented at CROI helps bring us one step closer to our goal of providing a wide range of options that may help transform the HIV treatment landscape.”
Dr Elizabeth Rhee, vice president, global clinical development at Merck Research Laboratories, added: “Our strategies for managing and treating HIV must evolve with the needs of the HIV community, and we are excited to have this promising first data from the phase 2 study for islatravir and lenacapavir presented at CROI. Gilead and Merck remain committed to this collaboration and to the development of a potential once-weekly oral therapy for people living with HIV who may need additional options to help maintain viral suppression.”