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Gilead Plans To Squash Norvir

| 13 Comments

Stop NorvirAs I mentioned last month, Gilead has an experimental pharmacokinetic (PK) enhancer in development that does the same thing as Norvir, Abbott's overpriced "booster" which most of us take to increase the blood levels of our protease inhibitors. We first heard they were studying the new booster, called GS-9350, as part of a possible 4-drugs-in-1 combo pill that would potentially supplant Atripla as the antiviral regimen du jour.

AIDS activists have been begging Gilead to study a stand-alone version of this booster with currently marketed protease inhibitors as well, offering the first potential competition to Norvir. Yesterday, at the CROI conference in Montreal, Gilead announced just that (see their full press release), saying they are "examining GS 9350’s potential to boost HIV protease inhibitors, which are used in many HIV treatment regimens. Gilead has initiated a pharmacokinetic study of GS 9350 that will assess its ability to boost atazanavir, one of the most widely prescribed HIV protease inhibitors."

Besides its exorbitant price, Norvir has some other issues which Gilead hopes to exploit. As AIDSmeds reported yesterday, Norvir is "associated with side effects such as gastrointestinal problems and lipid increases, and may contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant virus due to the fact that it does have anti-HIV activity even at low doses. In turn, pharmaceutical companies have been eager to develop a safe and effective PK booster, without activity against HIV, that can be used in place of Norvir."

GS-9350 has no anti-HIV activity, so it won't cause resistance. And thus far, it's showing none of Norvir's side effects.

Even better news -- while these two pharma Goliaths prepare for a PK face-off, a little David called Sequoia Pharmaceuticals might muscle its way in with their own experimental booster, SPI-452 (see the AIDSmeds story). In fact, they've already tested it successfully with Reyataz, Prezista and Invirase.

Expect to see one or both of these boosters on the market in about two years. I'm looking forward to throwing out my last bottle of Norvir.



Peter on:

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Comments on Peter Staley's blog entry "Gilead Plans To Squash Norvir"

That's good news for many Peter, I actually stopped taking mine a while ago, I just couldn't stomach it, Doc wasn't too pleased but supported my desicion.

Hugs
Jan

I, too, look forward to saying "Farewell Norvir!"

I will personally organize a "Dance on the Grave of Norvir" action once these drugs are approved!

Potential competition for Abbott's Norvir should be a good thing.

Abbott will only have its self to blame if everyone jumps ship to the newer boosters given the unjustifiable price increase for Norvir that they imposed on everyone.

However, as I think you noted in one of your other blogs, Peter, it would be a shame to lose any drug company from the market completely which may be the cse if Gilead's proposed drugs enter the market resulting in it having a powerful market share of all drugs available.

Personally, I've never had an issue with Norvir as far as side effects go, but it will be good to not have to worry about refrigeration. Isn't Abbott also developing a tablet form of Norvir?

Steve

Does this also mean that Kaletra with the Norvir booster will no longer be available?

Dan -- this won't affect Kaletra much at all -- it will still include some Norvir inside the pill. But it may become a less popular choice after Gilead's quad drug hits the market in a few years.

Stephen -- yes, Abbott has applied for FDA approval on their "heat stable" version of Norvir, which should be approved soon.

While just few months ago, most people were arguing that the drug pipeline was dry and the cure or functional still very far ahead.

But everyday, the news are showing the opposite trend.

Keep hopes

hmmmmm I wonder if I can get on a trial for this.

Hi Peter,
I just caught up with some of the past blogs I had missed. I have never taken Norvir, and am not sure if the only problem is that Abbott jacked up the price (which I agree, is not a small problem) However,vwhile reading the blog on Aquadra, I noticed that you wrote that Reyataz should be taken with Norvir. I am on Reyataz and Truvada, but am not on Norvir. I have a great HIV Doc, so I am not too concerned that he would overlook this. Yet again, what is your take? Do you think Norvir is something I should consider adding?
Thank you,
J. Todd DeShong

noticed in a recent artilce about a promising gene therapy treatment for hiv that the cost of anti viral treatment in Europe was around 70,000 pounds per year or about 120,000 dollars and around 25000 pounds for the new treatment.
Why is the cost so much higher in GB and Europe than here or do they have the numbers reversed? In all honesty because we here in US are in semi state of Nationalized health care I have no idea what my drugs cost but i am sure it is closer to 30000 a year than 100000 per year. Is the cost so much higher in Europe because of Nat health care?
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/gene-therapy-offers-hope-of-cure-for-hiv-1607227.html

Ever since I started Norvir, I have worked out 3-4 days a week. I have not lost one pound, and have gained a few. Is this a common side effect...not to be able to lose any weight?

ever since i started Norvir, i havent been the same, but, my doc will not listen, he says its not the drug, but i know my body and i listen to it...are there any alternatives now to Norvir? i am also on reyetaz and truvada, which seems to be the $2500/month cocktail of the day. over $25,000 in meds paid to keep me alive...whats the point...i really hate big pharma.

NO one in leadership in AIDS INC is calling for a cure for AIDS... Shame , Shame , Shame.. the same old game of having the advocates lobby for money for PHARMA like puppets on a string.. get them angry Paul with NMAC suggest and other have them orgainised END AIDS suggest...The Angry should be directed at the old leadership in NAWPA and such to keep the lobby of free services from the HIV/AIDS community.. What about a Cure for AID? .. Ask Toney with NIH to retirier.. and get a new leader with ZEAL and Passion and HOPE for a Cure for AID in NIH. Toney Retirer for 20 years of hoplessness is enough move on dude.

Peace and much Love,

Frederick Wright
GNP+USA
813-985-2968

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Staley published on February 10, 2009 3:34 PM.

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