Nelfinavir (Viracept)

Nelfinavir is a protease inhibitor, an anti-HIV drug that reduces the amount of virus in the body. Anti-HIV drugs such as nelfinavir slow down or prevent damage to the immune system, and reduce the risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses. Protease is the enzyme that HIV uses to break up large viral proteins from which new HIV particles can be made. For more information about how protease inhibitors work, see Protease inhibitors.

Nelfinavir received marketing approval in the United States in March 1997 and in the European Union in January 1998. It was licensed for use in combination with other antiretroviral drugs in adults and children.

Nelfinavir was marketed under the trade name Viracept. It was developed by Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. in collaboration with the pharmaceutical division of Japan Tobacco Inc. under the code name AG1343. In Europe and certain other countries outside the United States, Pfizer licensed Roche to market nelfinavir.

Generic versions are manufactured by a number of Indian companies, including Nelvir (Cipla), Nelfin (Genixpharma), Nelvex (Aurobindo) and Nefavir (Ranbaxy).

Roche discontinued nelfinavir in January 2013 when the European marketing authorisation expired.