UK-based pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare has partnered with the Paediatric European Network for Treatment of AIDS (PENTA) Foundation to provide funding for PENTA's Early-treated Perinatally HIV-infected Individuals: Improving Children's Actual Life with Novel Immunotherapeutic Strategies (EPIICAL) consortium.
ViiV Healthcare is majority-owned by UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), with American company Pfizer and Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi as shareholders.
ViiV Healthcare intends to fund for the consortium with an aim to develop optimal treatment strategies for children living with HIV, as well as to explore the potential for achieving disease remission.
The pharmaceutical company will also work in partnership with the PENTA Foundation and other leading paediatric HIV researchers worldwide, in a bid to evaluate the viral reservoir and immune characteristics of paediatric patients with HIV from previously established cohorts.
The major concern behind the research is to develop models that can predict response to anti-retroviral treatment in order to maximise treatment for children affected with HIV.
The PENTA EPIICAL consortium intends to use the result of this research in the design of new clinical studies of current and new therapies with the purpose to replicate the virologic and immunologic profile predicted by the model.
ViiV Healthcare chief scientific and medical officer Dr John C Pottage said: "Our collaboration with PENTA has set ambitious goals, but the need to optimise treatment strategies for children living with HIV is urgent.
"The knowledge gained through this research will generate a deeper understanding of viral remission, which can be applied to the design of future clinical trials that test whether we can achieve what the model predicts in terms of HIV remission."
The information obtained, as well as the patient profiles, might also help inform the design of prospective studies with new and existing treatments meant for HIV remission and cure.