Gilead and Merck join forces to challenge GSK in HIV space

March 16, 2021

Gilead Sciences and Merck & Co. are teaming up to test a combination HIV treatment that will rival a GlaxoSmithKline drug.

The companies announced this week that they are hoping a combination of their experimental HIV drugs will result in a long-acting treatment that won’t have to be taken every day, like the current standard of care.

The companies had been developing the drugs — Gilead’s lenacapivir and Merck’s Islatravir — separately. As part of the new collaboration, Gilead will now assume 60 percent of the development costs to test the drugs together, while Merck will cover 40 percent.

GSK’s HIV unit, ViiV Healthcare, recently launched a once-a-month injection treatment — but Merck and Gilead are aiming for a drug that lasts longer. The companies will test their combo therapy in both oral and injectable forms.

If successfully developed, the companies will then share sales revenues until an oral version hits $2 billion in sales and the injectable version reaches $3.5 billion. After those milestones, Gilead will reap 65 percent of the revenue while Merck will get the rest. 

Read the Wall Street Journal report.