Two Major Pharmaceutical Companies Take the Lead for an HIV Cure
Last week more than 210 international scientists met in St Maarten for the "5th International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs & Eradication Strategies". The principal goal of this workshop, launched for the first time in December 2003 by Alain Lafeuillade (Toulon, France) and Mario Stevenson (Miami, USA) is to be a catalyst between scientists wanting to put an end at the HIV pandemic.
Philipsburg, St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles., December 11, 2011 - (PressReleasePoint) -
More than 210 international scientists meet from December 6 to 9 for the "International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs & Eradication Strategies". The workshop is supported by the American National Institute of Health (NIH) and the French Agency for AIDS Research (ANRS).
"This 2011 edition of the workshop was definitely the place where it was worth to be for those working on an HIV cure" told Pr Lafeuillade, chairman of the workshop. All researchers concerned by the field, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), the French Agency for AIDS Research (ANRS), and the International AIDS Society (IAS) were there, sharing latest ideas, new findings and future initiatives to discover a cure against HIV.
For the first time in this workshop some pharmaceutical companies openly spoke about their current research for new strategies aimed at eradicating HIV infection.
Romas Geleziunas from Gilead (Foster City, USA) and Roger Sutmuller from Tibotec Janssen (Antwerp, Belgium) clearly showed that finding a cure was a top priority in their agenda. Both companies have developed in vitro models of HIV latency and are intensely screening libraries of compounds to attack HIV in its last hiding places.
"With the spread of generics, ART (antiretroviral therapy) is no longer the way for firms to make money" a pharmaceutical company executive told us off the records, "and that is a great opportunity for the most innovative companies because we have the power to be the first in the race for a cure".
"This is a dramatic switch in the way some pharmaceutical companies are considering the discovery of an HIV cure, Pr Lafeuillade added, and it is for the best regarding our patients".
"The pharmaceutical companies and private foundations that missed the train at this workshop will soon realize that they are obsolete" he emphasized.
The 6th edition of the "International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs & Eradication Strategies" is scheduled in Miami on December 3-6, 2013. "That means that we have 2 years to prove patients that academic scientists and those form the industry can make great strides together", Prof. Lafeuillade concluded.
Key words: HDAC inhibitors, HIV cure, HIV eradication commitment, drug discovery