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GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Formally Launch Company To Develop New HIV Treatments

Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer on Tuesday formally launched ViiV Healthcare, a company focused on the development of new HIV treatments, Dow Jones Newswires/SmartMoney.com reports (11/3).

“GSK was at the forefront of breakthroughs in HIV and AIDS treatments in the late 1980s and 1990s with anti-virals such as Retrovir, Epivir and Combivir, which slow the effects of the illness. However, new innovations have proved difficult to find despite the virus still killing 5,000 people every day,” the Telegraph reports. “The deal will Pfizer allows the research and development of potential new drugs while also meeting investors’ concerns by sharing the risk.”

The Telegraph continues, “AIDS charities have welcomed the link-up but said it was ‘essential’ that the dilution of competition does not drive up prices and lead to a ‘disinvestment’ of R&D in the long term.” The article includes details about the increasing pressure GSK has been under by AIDS charities to create a patent pool of HIV treatments in order to drive treatment costs down (Ruddick, 10/31).

Reuters/Forbes examines how the “pooling” of the companies’ HIV/AIDS businesses may lead to new directions in HIV research. “Our intent is to look at what we can do with the portfolio we get from Pfizer and Glaxo to build new combinations which will completely transform the way we treat HIV,” said Dominique Limet, chief executive of ViiV Healthcare (Hirschler, 11/3).