Pfizer/GSK-Backed ViiV Healthcare's HIV Drug Associated With Increased Resistance, WHO Report Says

Zinger Key Points
  • WHO report highlights high levels of HIV viral load suppression in populations undergoing dolutegravir-containing antiretroviral therapy.
  • The lack of routine surveillance contributes to challenges in optimizing retention in care and population-level viral load suppression.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest HIV Drug Resistance (HIVDR) Report, shedding light on the growing areas of drug resistance and providing crucial recommendations for countries to navigate potential challenges. 

The report carried both optimistic and concerning revelations, highlighting high levels of HIV viral load suppression in populations undergoing dolutegravir (DTG)-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART). 

It also raised alarms about increasing levels of drug resistance to dolutegravir beyond clinical trial observations.

ViiV Healthcaremajority owned by GSK plc GSK, as well as owned by Pfizer Inc PFE and Shionogi, sells dolutegravir under the Tivicay name, as well as Dovato, Juluca and Triumeq, which include dolutegravir in combination with other drugs.

Only 12 out of 45 WHO focus countries reported conducting surveys or integrating HIVDR monitoring into routine systems in 2022. 

This lack of routine surveillance contributed to challenges in optimizing retention in care, population-level viral load suppression and addressing antiretroviral drug stock-outs, negatively impacting patient adherence.

The report recommended routine implementation of standardized surveillance for resistance. 

It also documented cases of resistance to integrase-strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) after exposure to cabotegravir (CAB-LA), urging the scale-up of CAB-LA for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) alongside standardized surveillance of drug resistance.

On Monday, ViiV Healthcare released findings from its phase I study that showed an investigational formulation of cabotegravir, known as cabotegravir ultra long-acting (CAB-ULA), can be dosed at intervals of at least four months. 

“This new formulation of cabotegravir with a higher concentration and at least double the half-life puts us on the path toward delivering dosing every four months for HIV treatment and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis),” said Kimberly Smith, head of Research and Development at ViiV Healthcare, in a statement.

Also Read: European Commission Approves GSK/Pfizer-Backed HIV Infection Prevention Drug.

GSK, PFE Price Action: GSK shares are up 0.57% at $42.68, and Pfizer shares are up 1.06% at $26.16 on the last check Tuesday.

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