Monday, March 14, 2011

"It's the greatest success of western medicine in our lifetime, and the success of HIV drugs is leading to its own demise."

...says Jacob Lalezari, an HIV clinical trials expert.

No rigorous analysis here, but I thought it worthwhile to post this story speculating that the efficacy of today's HIV drugs may impeded advances in fighting HIV.

I wish we having the same problem in all therapeutic areas!

Well, we have in at least one: CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia). Gleevec is a very, very effective treatment, though not always effective against certain mutations (T315), and it seems that many patients may eventually relapse years later with a mutated form of the disease.

Still, Gleevec is to CML what Gilead's suite of HIV drugs are to HIV - very good treatments, not cures.

But, if CML is a guide, there is much to hopeful for among the HIV community. Even though Gleevec is an effective CML treatment, and addresses only about 5,000 new patients per year, two next generation drugs have been approved, with others in the pipeline. (NVS' Tasigna and BMS' Sprycel approved for second line use, even as researchers theorize that they may generate quicker responses than 1st line Gleevec.)

Considering Gleevec's total annual market is ~$2B, I would expect that there will be plenty of efforts to develop a cure for the $15B HIV market.

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