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Rutgers laboratory helped to create new HIV drug
Date:6/23/2011

Two decades after a Rutgers team began working with legendary drug developer Paul Janssen, founder of a Belgian subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in an effort to create new and potent drugs to fight AIDS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the second anti-HIV drug that came from this collaboration.

"For a drug to successfully make it to the finish line, countless obstacles must be overcome," said Eddy Arnold, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and a resident faculty member of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine who led the Rutgers team. "As a researcher in biomedical sciences I can tell you that helping to create new medicines is something you always dream about."

The newest AIDS drug, (rilpivirine) Edurant the first to be approved by the FDA in the last three years and manufactured by Tibotec Therapeutics, a subsidiary of J&J was developed in 2001 and took a decade to make its way through the regulatory process and clinical trials.

"From the beginning, we knew this would be a long-term project," said Arnold whose research group team received $20 million mostly from the National Institutes of Health as well as two prestigious MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) NIH awards, an honor bestowed on less than 5 percent of NIH grant recipients. "Many challenges have been faced and overall it has been more like a marathon than anything else."

Resistant strains of HIV are a growing medical problem because the virus is constantly mutating, and the changes can cause existing AIDS drugs from being able to work. Arnold's team developed innovative models that explain not only why Edurant, approved by the FDA last month, and Intelence, approved in 2008, are particularly effective against drug-resistant viruses but can also be used in the development of treatments for a wide variety of other diseases. The gist of the model is that flexibility of a drug can allow it to adap
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Contact: Robin Lally
rlally@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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