Sangamo sees signs of efficacy for HIV treatment

A small, early-stage study of Sangamo Biosciences' ($SGMO) experimental HIV gene therapy demonstrated that a handful of patients were able to use the treatment safely while benefiting from a significant and sustained increase in HIV resistant T-cells over a year's time. And investigators are forging ahead in hopes of reaping new data by the end of this year proving that the therapy can reduce levels of HIV in patients who aren't taking antiviral drugs--setting up a marketing app for a new approach to the viral epidemic that could garner $750 million a year.

"When that data comes at the end of this year, we should have an idea whether the efficacy is durable enough and potent enough," Liana Moussatos of Wedbush Securities tells Bloomberg.

Sangamo believes that SB-728-T can be used to disrupt the CCR5 gene, which HIV uses to invade cells, making T-cells resistant to infection. By keeping their immune system strong, patients should remain healthy.

"These data represent the beginning of a new hope for HIV therapy," said Jacob Lalezari, M.D., the Director of Quest Clinical Research and one of the principal investigators of the study. "This approach aims to provide a protected reservoir of HIV-resistant T-cells that are available to fight infections including the virus. I look forward to completing the follow-up of this initial study and to working with Sangamo as it expands these studies to include the full range of HIV-infected populations."

- get the Sangamo release
- read the story from Bloomberg