Collaboration between MPP and University of Liverpool targets HIV nanomedicines

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and the University of Liverpool have agreed a partnership to use the university’s solid drug nanoparticles (SDN) technology to develop antiretrovirals as nanomedicines.

The agreement covers 135 low- and middle-income countries and two high-income countries in Africa, where companies based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, use and distribute lower cost drugs based on SDN technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, the University of Liverpool will develop nanoparticles of antiretrovirals licensed to the MPP such as atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir and efavirenz, to improve their solubility and thus reduce dosage.

The Medicines Patent Pool and the university will engage with pharmaceutical industry partners for product development and industrial scale-up. The MPP will then sub-license the nano-formulated drugs and facilitate competitive manufacturing to boost distribution of the new medicines in low- and middle-income countries.

The University of Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading research institutions with global leadership in the field of HIV and nanotechnology. Its nanotechnology program aims to overcome some of the challenges of antiretroviral treatment, including poor solubility and the need to administer large doses to ensure that enough of the drug is absorbed into the body to be effective.

With an initial grant from the Research Council UK, researchers have already reformulated two HIV medicines and expect to conduct human trials of some of the first oral HIV nanomedicines this month. Currently, there are no HIV nanomedicines on the market.

Greg Perry, executive director of the MPP says: “With the World Health Organization’s “treat-all” recommendations, more than 20 million people are still in need of viable, sustainable treatment options. This partnership seeks to help meet new international HIV scale-up targets through the delivery of better-adapted low-dose medicines at a significant price reduction.”

Professor Andrew Owen from the university’s department of pharmacology says: “Dose reduction can lead to easier administration and potentially fewer side effects for people living with HIV. Smaller oral pills also facilitate lower production costs of active pharmaceutical ingredients which could slash treatment bills and allow health ministries to provide treatment to more people.”

Vice Chancellor Janet Beer, University of Liverpool says: “We are thrilled the MPP has joined us to develop medicines based on SDN technology and to ensure that once developed, they will reach people who need them the most in developing countries.”

Yasmita Kumar


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