Gilead Sciences, J&J up the ante on new HIV drug combos

Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) are taking their close partnership on new HIV drug combos to the proverbial next level. About four months since their deal to mix Gilead's boosting agent cobicistat with J&J's Prezista, a protease inhibitor, the developers will now ramp up a second program that combines Gilead's Emtriva and the experimental GS 7340 into a single pill.

"This is the first time we are developing a protease inhibitor-containing single-tablet regimen, and we're able to do that based on the small milligram size of GS 7340, which is less than one tenth of the amount of the 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate contained in Viread and Truvada," said Gilead R&D chief Norbert Bischofberger.

Foster City, CA-based Gilead is the dominant developer in the HIV sphere, pushing ahead with the prospective launch of Quad, one of the top possible blockbusters in late-stage development. The trend here is to come up with better treatments that ease the burdensome dosing requirements HIV patients have faced for years.

This new program is mostly Gilead's responsibility. J&J's Tibotec unit has the rights to co-detail the combo treatment in some major markets. And it builds on their collaboration on Complera, which was approved last August.

- here's the press release

Special Report: Quad - 15 top blockbuster contenders