ViiV teams with Medicines Patent Pool to broaden access to PrEP drug

May 27, 2022

ViiV Healthcare is working with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to broaden access to the drugmaker's latest HIV PrEP med.

ViiV, which was created as a joint venture by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline in 2009, is committing to license its patents relating to cabotegravir long-acting for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and is entering into negotiation on voluntary licensing terms with MPP.

The deal aims to help enable at scale access to cabotegravir LA — branded as Apretude in the U.S. — for PrEP in low- and middle-income countries. 

Apretude, approved by the U.S. FDA in late 2021, is given first as two initiation injections administered one month apart, and then every two months thereafter.

“We are excited by the potential role that this long-acting injectable medicine for HIV prevention can play in helping to avert the transmission of HIV and ending the HIV epidemic by 2030...We are pleased that today we are making a significant contribution towards this aim by ensuring ViiV Healthcare patents will not stand in the way of enabling access for people in low- and middle-income countries who could benefit from cabotegravir LA for PrEP. We look forward to working at pace with MPP to execute the license in the coming months, building on the experience of our valued and long-standing partnership," said Deborah Waterhouse, CEO, ViiV Healthcare.

The target year for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic is 2030. In the U.S., there are two national plans in place to help stick to that timeline. Globally, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has set the same 2030 deadline.

The news from ViiV comes just days after Pfizer announced its own health equity initiative. Pfizer's "Accord for a Healthier World" aims to provide all of the drugmaker's patented medicines and vaccines available in the U.S. and the EU on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries — with the goal of reducing the health inequities.