SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanding the
pipeline of HIV prevention tools in development, the International Partnership
for Microbicides (IPM) today announced that Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) has agreed to
give IPM a royalty-free license to maraviroc, its newly-approved HIV
treatment, as a microbicide for the prevention of HIV infection. Maraviroc,
sold under the trade name Selzentry(TM)/Celsentri(R), is one of a new class of
antiretroviral drugs known as CCR5 blockers, which works to prevent HIV
infection by preventing the virus from gaining entry into target cells.
This agreement marks only the second time a pharmaceutical company has
licensed an already approved HIV therapy to be developed as a microbicide.
Researchers hope that maraviroc's safety and efficacy data as a therapeutic
will speed its development as a microbicide.
"This agreement adds a promising new compound to IPM's pipeline, allowing
us to explore new ways to prevent HIV infection," said Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO
of the International Partnership for Microbicides. "Pfizer and IPM's other
industry partners deserve recognition for their significant leadership in the
global effort to protect women from HIV."
Microbicides are products, such as gels and films, that could be applied
vaginally to prevent transmission of HIV during vaginal intercourse. IPM is
also developing other delivery methods such as long-lasting vaginal rings that
release drug gradually over time.
"Pfizer is proud to contribute to the effort to develop a safe and
effective microbicide with the potential to give women around the world new
ways to protect themselves from HIV," said Pfizer Vice President Dr. Jack
Watters. "Given maraviroc's mechanism of action blocking entry of HIV into the
CD4 cells, the possibility for use in a microbicide is exciting. In addition
to developing new drugs to treat AIDS, we are committed to searching for ways
our drugs can be used to slow down or stop this epidemic."
Under this agreement, IPM would work to develop maraviroc as a vaginal
microbicide with the right to develop, manufacture and distribute the
microbicide in developing countries. Pfizer has granted these rights to IPM
without a royalty.
"Women in the developing world are especially vulnerable to HIV, and
urgently need new ways to protect themselves," said Dr. Tachi Yamada,
president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "For
Pfizer to offer one of its most important new drugs to benefit the poorest of
the poor shows a special act of commitment. I hope their example will point
the way for other companies to consider how they can address major global
health challenges as well."
To date, five leading pharmaceutical companies have entered partnerships
with IPM. In March 2004, IPM signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson
subsidiary Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to develop the company's
non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor dapivirine as a microbicide. In
October 2005, IPM entered agreements with Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb
to develop CCR5 blocker and entry inhibitor compounds early in development,
and in December 2006 IPM reached an agreement with Gilead Sciences to develop
tenofovir (PMPA), a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor.
HIV/AIDS ranks among the world's most devastating diseases because it has
spread rapidly and mainly afflicts young people in their most productive
years. Women, particularly those in developing countries, bear an increasing
burden of the epidemic as both caregivers for the ill and because of their
heightened risk of infection due to greater physiological, economic and social
vulnerabilities. According to the UN, in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 61 percent
of adults living with HIV are women. In many African countries, women and
girls aged 15 to 24 are three times more likely to be HIV-infected than their
About IPM: The International Partnership for Microbicides was established
in 2002 to accelerate the development and accessibility of microbicides to
prevent HIV transmission in women. By screening compounds, designing optimal
formulations, establishing manufacturing capacity, developing trial sites and
conducting clinical trials, IPM works to improve the efficiency of all efforts
to develop and deliver safe and effective microbicides as soon as possible.
About Pfizer: Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's largest
research-based pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health.
Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers quality, safe and
effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both
people and animals. Pfizer also partners with health care providers,
governments and local communities around the world to expand access to its
medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support.
For further information:
For further information: Steve Taravella of IPM,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-301-608-2221; or Shreya Jani of Pfizer,
email@example.com, +1-212-733-4889 Web Site: