In addition, for many AIDS patients, the long-term regimens of anti-HIV drugs prove toxic, and ultimately, their benefits decline. HIVs ability to rapidly mutate means that patients usually develop resistance to their treatments over time, explained Nair.
Now, with HIV integrase inhibitors, we have a new class of drugs for people that is expected to alleviate some of the problems associated with resistance and provide new treatment options, said Nair.
Integrase inhibitors are creating excitement in the pharmaceutical industry, scientific community and for patients, said Sohail Malik, director of technology commercialization for UGARF. Merck & Co. recently reported favorable Phase III clinical trials of Isentress, an experimental integrase inhibitor, and an independent advisory committee recommended approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the drugs safety and effectiveness, and approval is expected this month.
Drug developers have been targeting HIV integrase for years, but without much success. Nairs own discovery had its beginning in NIH-funded work as far back as 1994, while he was a researcher at the University of Iowa. But, he said of his early research, those compounds didnt sufficiently inhibit HIV replication in infected cells.
It wasnt until 2002 when he came to the College of Pharmacy at the University of Georgia that he began working on an entirely new class of HIV integrase inhibitors with further NIH research support and had a major breakthrough. All told, Nair, who directs UGAs interdisciplinary Center for Drug Discovery, has worked for over a decade to bring HIV integrase inhibitors to the point where they could be licensed, an important milestone in the drug discovery, development and approval process.
Because a patent lasts just 20 years from the date its filed, and further development and clinical trials take a number of years and sign
|Contact: Kim Osborne|
University of Georgia