The pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer announced today that the joint venture created by the merger of their HIV divisions is called ViiV Healthcare. The deal was first announced in April, and aims to improve the two companies’ position in the HIV market by cutting costs, sharing research and combining sales operations.
The new company has a 19% share of the global drugs market, in comparison to Gilead’s 31%.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will initially control 85 per cent and Pfizer the remaining 15 per cent of the shares, with the proportions rising or falling depending on the relative success of the two companies’ drugs.
The company has a portfolio of ten licensed anti-HIV products, plus seven investigational drugs in phase I and phase II clinical trials. The licensed drugs include GSK’s combination pills Combivir (AZT and 3TC) and Kivexa (abacavir and 3TC). Pfizer’s sole licensed anti-HIV drug is the CCR5 inhibitor, maraviroc (Celsentri).
The company says that their research will not solely focus on creating new molecules, but will try to develop new formulations that are easier to adhere to, including paediatric fixed-dose combinations.
Dominique Limet, the new chief executive, told Reuters that “Our intent is to look at what we can do with the portfolio we get from Pfizer and Glaxo to build new combinations which will completely transform the way we treat HIV.”
The company also states that it is committed to broadening access to medicines around the world and maintaining GSK’s Positive Action programme, which supports community projects.
“Much of our historic effort has been led by the virus – a chase of science,” Limet commented. “This must continue, but we must also listen and better understand the needs of people living with HIV.”