Johnson & Johnson grants license for HIV microbicide
Johnson & Johnson this week granted royalty-free rights to develop its experimental HIV microbicide, TMC-120, to the International Partnership for Microbicides, London's Financial Times reports. The compound, initially designed as an anti-HIV drug but now manufactured in a gel form as a microbicide, was developed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Tibotec Pharmaceuticals. TMC-120 is designed to be inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to prevent HIV infection. Studies have yet to determine whether it is effective in preventing anal transmission of HIV infection, but researchers hope the compound will prove equally effective for gay and straight consumers.
Johnson & Johnson had already completed early stage research on the drug, and the partnership will now conduct human trials. If the trials are successful, the microbicide could be on the market by 2010. IPM research director Mark Mitchnick told the Financial Times he has "high hopes" for the "highly potent compound" because early studies have shown it to be effective in inhibiting HIV replication and because it's cheap to produce and chemically stable in the gel formulation.