Gilead And Merck Agree To Joint Development Of Long-acting Treatments In HIV

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) and Merck (MRK) announced that they have entered into a deal to jointly develop and commercialize long-acting treatments in HIV.

According to the terms, the companies will combine Gilead's investigational drug lenacapavir, and Merck's drug candidate islatravir into a two-drug regimen with the potential to provide new treatment options for people living with HIV.

The first clinical studies of the oral combination are expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

"Islatravir and lenacapavir are both potentially first-in-class medicines in late-stage clinical trials, with significant clinical data generated to date. Both medicines have long half-lives and have demonstrated activity at low dosages in clinical studies, which support development as an investigational combination regimen with long-acting formulations, both oral and injectable," the companies said.

"This collaboration with Gilead brings together two companies dedicated to the fight against HIV to develop potential new long-acting treatment options, and is an important step forward in our strategy to harness the full potential of islatravir for the treatment of HIV," said Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Merck.

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