The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has collaborated with the University of Liverpool to use its solid drug nanoparticle (SDN) technology to speed-up development of the World Health Organisation-recommended HIV antiretrovirals as nanomedicines.
The deal covers a territory of all 135 low-and middle-income countries and two high-income countries in Africa.
The company noted that licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, use and distribute lower cost ARVs based on SDN technology.
MPP executive director Greg Perry said: "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."
The university’s nanotechnology programme 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.
Researchers from the university have so far reformulated two HIV medicines with the help of grant from the Research Council UK and they intend to conduct human trials of some of the first oral HIV nanomedicines in December.
University Department of Pharmacology Andrew Owen said: "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."
The university will now develop nanoparticles of ARVs licensed to the MPP such as atazanavir, darunavir and lopinavir to improve their solubility and reduce dosage.
Under the deal, the parties will engage with pharmaceutical partners for product development and industrial scale-up following that MPP will then sub-license the nano-formulated ARVs and facilitate competitive manufacturing to spur wide distribution of the new medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
Image: Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 (in green) budding from cultured lymphocyte. Photo: courtesy of Optigan13.