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Joseph O'Neill, the gay former director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House, has been named chief executive officer and president of Immune Response Corp., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on HIV and multiple sclerosis research. O'Neill, who succeeds John N. Bonfiglio at Immune Response, helped craft the 2003 President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a $15 billion global initiative to combat the AIDS epidemic.
Immune Response had developed an experimental HIV vaccine called Remune that was hoped to prevent HIV infection but was shown in a November 2000 study to be ineffective. The vaccine is currently being studied to see if adding it to an antiretroviral drug cocktail enhances the medications' anti-HIV activity. The company also is developing IR103, an immune-based therapy to treat HIV, and NeuroVax, an immune-based treatment for MS. (Advocate.com)