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HIV/AIDS

GSK collaborates with University of North Carolina on HIV cure

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is establishing a research centre devoted to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the HIV Cure centre will be based.

The two organisations have launched a new company Qura Therapeutics that will have responsibility for the business side of the partnership, including commercialisation and intellectual property rights.

GSK and the university are optimistic that the public-private initiative will attract additional funding and expertise to spearhead a cure for HIV worldwide.

Chief executive officer of GSK Sir Andrew Witty says the move is a testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to eradicating HIV. University chancellor Carol Folt says the “novel” partnership has vast potential.

GSK will invest US$4m annually into the new centre for five years. In return, the university will provide laboratory space, academic and research expertise, as well as access to patients and sources of funding, the organisations announced on 11 May 2015.

The researchers will focus on what is known as a “shock and kill” approach to finding a cure. They will work on pinpointing the hidden virus in HIV-positive patients and then augment their antibodies to help eradicate the virus and infected cells.

David Margolis, Carolina professor of medicine and leader of the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication, says this shock and kill approach has already shown significant promise in early translational research on humans. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068536

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