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New trial for treatment-resistant HIV

Published on 24/10/03 at 04:53pm

Boehringer Ingelheim has begun a global phase III trial for a new drug it hopes will be effective for HIV patients who have become resistant to current therapies.

Tipranavir is a new class of drugs developed to treat patients who have previously taken three different types of antiretroviral but in whom the HIV virus has mutated into a drug resistant form.

Such resistance is becoming increasingly prevelant an estimated 14% of recently infected patients have a strain of HIV either partially or wholly resistant to existing antiretrovirals.

Boehringer Ingelheim's RESIST trial is the largest trial to include previously treated HIV patients, and will enroll over 1,500 patients from the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and South America.

Tipranavir is the first of a new class called non-peptidic protease inhibitors (NPPI), which bind more flexibily to the structure of the HIV virus. This flexibility is thought to be behind the drug's favourable resistance profile.

"Initial studies have demonstrated that tipranavir is among the most promising anti-HIV drugs in development particularly for treatment-experienced patients unable to construct a viabel regimen with currently available antiretrovirals", said Kathleen Squires, Associate Professor of Medicines at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and RESIST trial investigator.

Tipranavir is Boehringer's second HIV drug after Viramune (nevirapine), a non-nucleaoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. It generated sales of $295 million in 2001 and last year was added, along with several other antiretretovials, to the World Health Organisation model list of essential medicines.

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