US drug giant Pfizer has announced a $5.3bn deal with the US government to develop a HIV pill containing a new anti-bacterial drug, kicking off another wave of government-funded research partnerships with drugmakers.
Under the deal, the government will pay up to $8bn over 10 years to help pay for the research by Pfizer on what they are calling a drug for more than a decade known as NRTI (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
Under the agreement, a class of drugs called anti-cancer necrotising fasciitis (treating blood infections) and anti-FIBHP (cystic fibrosis) that are Pfizer’s focus will be used as a basis for the drug.
“This is a world-class partnership that brings groundbreaking HIV drugs that have long struggled to reach patients into a system that has struggled to treat HIV in the first place,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Analysts said the agreement is positive for the company, in large part because it has been working on the anti-bacterial drug NRTI for 10 years.
“We believe this drug will enable HIV patients to have better quality of life and a longer quality of life, and this will be a very positive thing for the company as it still believes in it,” said analyst Jeff Holford at Jefferies.
Nathan Littlewood, head of hepatitis, HIV and Aids at Mabin Health Economics, an economic policy group, said it is encouraging that the government will pay the research costs for the drug.
“[Pfizer] are a company with a habit of finding ways to maximize their returns. And they believe in this,” said Littlewood.