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Published on 16 July 2008

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Roche halts new HIV drugs research

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Pharmaceutical giant Roche has advised HIV and AIDS specialists and activists that it is to stop research into new antiretroviral drugs because of “disappointing results”, it has been reported.

The Financial Times (FT) gave details of a memo, circulated by Roche last week, in which it said it would be halting its programme of researching compounds targeting two different ways to attack HIV.

“While we had initially been hopeful about their potential, we now have concluded that none would provide a true incremental benefit for patients compared to medicines currently on the market,” Jenny Edge-Dallas, global leader for Roche’s HIV Franchise, told the FT.

The company stressed that it would continue to manufacture its current antiretrovirals – Fuzeon (enfuvirtide), Viracept (nelfinavir) and Invirase (saquinavir) – along with its HIV diagnostic test and other related treatments. The move would allow it to focus on drugs that provide “significant improvement” to existing medicines from other companies, Roche said.

The founder of HIV news-related website AIDSmeds.com said Roche had never managed to develop a successful antiretroviral. “Roche is a big company, and they’ve been trying to get this right for many, many years,” Peter Staley said. “It is disappointing that there is one less big pharmaceutical company in this field.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Roche



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