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Is a Breakthrough Treatment on the Way for People With HIV?

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We as a country have a come a long way over the past two decades with regard to treating HIV and reducing the number of AIDS diagnoses. Plenty of factors have contributed to this reduction including better education of the public about the risk factors, as well as improved medication.

Gilead is cleaning up
At the head of the pack in slowing the progression of HIV in patients who have tested positive is Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD  ) . You could certainly say that Gilead has done its part to corner the market on HIV medications, introducing Truvada with an approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 for patients at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity.

However, in 2006, long before Truvada, Gilead introduced its three-in-one once-daily HIV treatment known as Atripla. Aside from being a landmark once-daily pill, which meant greater ease of use for patients, it also was a rarity in that it marked the collaboration of three behemoth biopharmaceutical providers to develop a drug for a serious disease. Atripla combined three drugs -- one from Gilead, one from Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) , and one from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  )  -- which resulted in nearly $3.6 billion in total revenue last year.

Gilead hasn't stopped there, either. In August, Gilead launched its latest and greatest HIV-suppressing treatment known as Stribild. Using a combination of four separate drugs in a once-daily pill, over a 48-week period Stribild delivered undetectable levels of HIV in 88% to 90% of patients in late-stage trials. By comparison, Atripla and Truvada in combination with atazanavir and ritonavir provided undetectable HIV levels in 84% and 87% of patients over the same time period, respectively. Stribild sales totaled $92 million in the first quarter, up about 130% over the sequential quarter, and is certainly shaping up to be a blockbuster. Even more impressively for Gilead, Stribild is based on four drugs developed entirely in house which means no revenue sharing with Bristol-Myers or J&J.

Is new hope on the horizon for HIV patients?
As you might expect, with Stribild expected to slowly erode sales for Atripla and Truvada over time, Gilead's peers have been looking for new ways to stick their nose in the HIV revenue treatment pipeline. Surprisingly, we may be seeing the next real advance in the treatment of HIV come from a company not named Gilead Sciences.

As reported by Bloomberg earlier this week, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) and Johnson & Johnson have unveiled some very intriguing study results, which would suggest that they have a combination injection therapy that could be used on a monthly basis or perhaps even quarterly basis to contain the progression of HIV in patients. The vaccine combines Glaxo's GSK744 -- a drug developed by ViiV Healthcare, which is, in turn, a joint venture between Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) and Japan-based Shionogi & Co. -- and J&J's TMC278. A trial involving 40 HIV-negative patients receiving monthly injections of the two drugs demonstrated drug levels above the required number to control or slow the progression of HIV during the month, and for up to four months after the last injection.

Source: Daniel Paquet, Flickr.

This could have a number of potential implications. First, it could mean patients being able to not only get a once-monthly vaccination, but, perhaps even a once-quarterly injection instead. Compare that to the current scenario, which involves taking a pill once a day for the rest of your life, and you can begin to see the ease of use appeal.

Understandably, patients will almost always choose pills to being jabbed with a needle, but given the possible negative long-term effects of taking once-daily HIV pills like Stribild on the liver, an overwhelming majority of patients polled in recent studies would be willing to try the vaccinations.

Cautiously optimistic
The initial thought here might be one of concern for Gilead Sciences shareholders, but it shouldn't be. For one, this vaccine combination appears to be a long way from getting a date with the FDA. Plenty of testing still needs to be conducted, especially with regard to the long-term safety effects, if any, for the combination therapy.

In addition, another way to look at this is from a complementary point of view. Not everyone wants to take a pill, and not everyone wants an injection. There appears to be plenty of room in HIV therapeutics to accommodate a once-daily pill like Stribild and a once-monthly/quarterly vaccination like GSK744/TMC278.

For now, I'd suggest shareholders stay the course, but to certainly keep their eyes peeled for further exciting development in the field of HIV treatments.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (5)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2013, at 5:26 PM, g2013 wrote:

    This regimen is not a good idea at all and, while it sounds good (what patient wouldn't want to take a drug once a month), I would be surprised if it's ever approved for several reasons.

    If a patient stops treatment - due to toxicity, or other health problem, because of the very long half-lives, the suboptimal levels of the drugs could persist for long time leading to the viral resistance. This has been a known problem with both Viramune and Sustiva which also have long half-lives.

    Both GSK744 and TMC-278 can interact with other drugs or foods leading to decreases in their blood levels. Again, because of the super-long half-lives, the suboptimal levels of the drugs could persist for long time (until the next injection) potentially leading to the resistance development.

    And the last point, there has not been a durable HIV regimen without a nucleos(t)ide analog or two. It means another pill given daily or weekly negating the benefit of the monthly injection.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2013, at 10:30 AM, LCooper037 wrote:

    I think the fact that they are moving towards finding a cure is wonderful. There have been many flops, but the idea that they are combining medications to cut back on the medication regimen is excellent. It gives hope to people that are living with HIV. Rather than pointing out ways that it won't work how about suggesting ways to make it work better. It absolutely amazes me how people will use their intelligence to to tear down dreams then build them up.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2016, at 3:37 PM, samjohn12 wrote:

    his comment i job adebayo is placing is not like the day by day advert you read online before!! Its a comment that you must read to avoid been ripped off and know the real spell caster on earth God sent to change and turn lives around without any harm / side effect. I am so over joyful as my mouth can not start to say all that really happened, It happened when i saw dr alaho advert online talking about been the best when there are so many spell casters online that i have used that has failed me.I spent almost close to $8000 dollars online for those spell casters that ripped me off my money without any result. But when i saw Dr alaho advert online saying that there is no spell caster like him and so many other testimonies about him from various people and from various countries in the world were it was written that dr alaho herbal center is the best that there is non to be compared to his cure, Already i have personally take a decision never to apply to any herbal doctor online again after loosing such amount of funds on line to those scammers.But i don't really know what drew my spirit / attention to that advert online that faithful afternoon, { I call it a faithful afternoon because all i desire was granted to me} There was an email at the end of his advert and on the good comment from the FBI and various people about him, I decided to send him an email telling him my problem about my HIV virus, money that i have lost to scammers and also having problems with the love of my life that i want to get married to. After some few minutes i received an email from him that contain the spell application form that i filled out and he told me that to get my HIV cure that i will have to get some items that i could not get here when i went in-search for it. He said if i can not get the items, That is going to cost me an amount of just $390 dollars for my kind of case that i told him about which i doubted to be another scam online, As i have read so many tips online that money should not be sent to someone you do not know via western union / money gram payment information's. And Dr alaho insisted that i will be sending money to his messenger via this wire means. I was so skeptical because i was scammed in such a way of $8000 dollars before,But this same spirits that attracted me to his advert told me inside again that this herbal cure is real and noting but real that i should go ahead and send him the amount since i know that there is no how i can get the items that he told me that will be needed for my HIV cure. I sent him the charges through his messenger to please help me get the item with the money to get my HIV cure.He promised me that in the next 2 weeks that i will start to see results after the spell has been casted to cure my HIV virus and others. I could not believe this because i have really been scammed and ripped off too many times for me to just believe till it works. To be sincere i almost faint as i was filled with so much excitement and happiness after 2 weeks when i went for check up i was now HIV negative. Then in the next 2 days the FBI called to tell me that they have been able to get the scammer that is with my money. I am so proud and happy to spread the good-news about this man because he surprised me in his wonderful and powerfully work that restored back my life. One thing that i also loved about this man is that he is understandable and he reduce or negotiate how much you can get for the work you want him to help you with. You want to meet with this great,most powerful herbal doctor that is 100% tested and trusted,Just send your emails to this email alahoremedyhome@gmail.com or whataspp or call him on +2348125341278 rewrite this email in the standard email format to use as you will get help from him without any disappointment. he is also special in this *HIV (with a very low cd4 count) HEPATITIS B *HERPES, **ASTHMA, *EPILEPSY, *CANCER, LASSA FEVER *STAPHYLOCOCCUS…

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2016, at 3:37 PM, samjohn12 wrote:

    his comment i job adebayo is placing is not like the day by day advert you read online before!! Its a comment that you must read to avoid been ripped off and know the real spell caster on earth God sent to change and turn lives around without any harm / side effect. I am so over joyful as my mouth can not start to say all that really happened, It happened when i saw dr alaho advert online talking about been the best when there are so many spell casters online that i have used that has failed me.I spent almost close to $8000 dollars online for those spell casters that ripped me off my money without any result. But when i saw Dr alaho advert online saying that there is no spell caster like him and so many other testimonies about him from various people and from various countries in the world were it was written that dr alaho herbal center is the best that there is non to be compared to his cure, Already i have personally take a decision never to apply to any herbal doctor online again after loosing such amount of funds on line to those scammers.But i don't really know what drew my spirit / attention to that advert online that faithful afternoon, { I call it a faithful afternoon because all i desire was granted to me} There was an email at the end of his advert and on the good comment from the FBI and various people about him, I decided to send him an email telling him my problem about my HIV virus, money that i have lost to scammers and also having problems with the love of my life that i want to get married to. After some few minutes i received an email from him that contain the spell application form that i filled out and he told me that to get my HIV cure that i will have to get some items that i could not get here when i went in-search for it. He said if i can not get the items, That is going to cost me an amount of just $390 dollars for my kind of case that i told him about which i doubted to be another scam online, As i have read so many tips online that money should not be sent to someone you do not know via western union / money gram payment information's. And Dr alaho insisted that i will be sending money to his messenger via this wire means. I was so skeptical because i was scammed in such a way of $8000 dollars before,But this same spirits that attracted me to his advert told me inside again that this herbal cure is real and noting but real that i should go ahead and send him the amount since i know that there is no how i can get the items that he told me that will be needed for my HIV cure. I sent him the charges through his messenger to please help me get the item with the money to get my HIV cure.He promised me that in the next 2 weeks that i will start to see results after the spell has been casted to cure my HIV virus and others. I could not believe this because i have really been scammed and ripped off too many times for me to just believe till it works. To be sincere i almost faint as i was filled with so much excitement and happiness after 2 weeks when i went for check up i was now HIV negative. Then in the next 2 days the FBI called to tell me that they have been able to get the scammer that is with my money. I am so proud and happy to spread the good-news about this man because he surprised me in his wonderful and powerfully work that restored back my life. One thing that i also loved about this man is that he is understandable and he reduce or negotiate how much you can get for the work you want him to help you with. You want to meet with this great,most powerful herbal doctor that is 100% tested and trusted,Just send your emails to this email alahoremedyhome@gmail.com or whataspp or call him on +2348125341278 rewrite this email in the standard email format to use as you will get help from him without any disappointment. he is also special in this *HIV (with a very low cd4 count) HEPATITIS B *HERPES, **ASTHMA, *EPILEPSY, *CANCER, LASSA FEVER *STAPHYLOCOCCUS…

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2016, at 11:48 PM, Meyes wrote:

    HELLO, i want to share this wonderful testimony to the world as a whole in case there is some body in this same situation. i was diagnosed of HIV in the year 2009 until i meant a testimony online by a woman with name Anita about a man called Dr Solution , i was not too sure if it was real until i contacted him my self . I thought that there was never a cure for my deadly ailment but Dr Solution told me that his herbs could cure me, and then i decided to give him a try, he then told me that once i start taking his herbs, that it will only take me some days to be cured, i believed him and took the herb with faith. after he gave me the medication, i took it and i was feeling some new signs in my body and i decided to go for a test and the result stated that i was HIV negative, i was very happy and even called my pastor and told him about it, i am very happy that i am now HIV negative and i am also happy that i will no longer be living as an HIV patient as i have did for the past 6 years, so help me say a very big thank you to Doctor Solution for saving me from the hands of the deadly ailment. if you are also in this type of situation and you are seeking for help, seek no more for you have received the right information you have been wanting for a very long time in this type of issues you are very free to contact Dr. Solution today through his private email: solutionhealinghome@gmail.com . i strongly believe that he will help you out just as he did mine, stay cool and God bless.

    email: solutionhealinghome@gmail.com or solutionhealinghome@yahoo.com

    website: http://healinghome.webs.com

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Sean Williams
TMFUltraLong

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and investment planning. You'll often find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, drug and device development, Social Security, taxes, retirement issues and general macroeconomic topics of interest.

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