San Diego-based Adventrx Pharmaceuticals on Thursday filed an Investigational New Drug Application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical studies of its HIV entry inhibitor BlockAide/CR, a peptide-based drug. Preclinical testing shows that the compound binds to and blocks sites on the surface of immune system cells to which HIV attaches in order to infect the cells. Because the drug works on human cells and not the virus itself, it is believed to be less susceptible to problems associated with viral resistance common to other anti-HIV medications.
"Viral resistance and toxicity continue to be major challenges in the treatment of HIV patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy," said Joan Robbins, chief technical officer at Adventrx. "We plan to test our drug in patients with evidence of HIV replication despite ongoing HAART." Phase I/II trials are expected to begin later this year.