HIV budding

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has entered a public-private partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) to create a HIV Cure Centre and a new company, Qura Therapeutics.

The partnership will bring together academic and pharmaceutical research scientists, as well as redefine the way of conducting research and create a new model to seek breakthroughs needed to tackle the global health issue.

The HIV Cure Centre, which is planned to be built on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, will focus exclusively on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Qura will focus on handling intellectual property, commercialisation, manufacturing and governance.

UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor Carol L Folt said: "The excitement of this public-private partnership lies in its vast potential.

"The HIV Cure Centre, which is planned to be built on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, will focus exclusively on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS."

"This first of its kind, joint-ownership model is a novel approach toward finding a cure, and we hope it serves as an invitation to the world’s best researchers and scientists."

GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty said: "Like UNC, GSK has a long legacy of HIV research success. From the development of the world’s first breakthrough medicine for HIV patients in the 1980s, to our leadership in the market today through ViiV Healthcare, we’re continuously challenging ourselves to meet the needs of patients."

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Under the partnership, GSK will invest $4m a year for five years through the new company, to fund the initial HIV Cure Centre research plan. In addition, a GSK research team will move to Chapel Hill to be co-located with UNC researchers.

ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company owned by GSK, Pfizer and Shionogi, will play an advisory role to the HIV Cure Center and Qura Therapeutics.

Image: Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. Photo: courtesy of C Goldsmith.