GSK's new HIV drug formula could support longer dosing intervals

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) logo

(This March 4 story has been corrected to remove a reference to declining revenue from current bestsellers in paragraph 3)

(Reuters) - GSK said on Monday a new formulation of its HIV prevention and treatment drug could potentially be administered at least every four months, an improvement from the previous requirement of dosing every two months.

Data on the ultra-long-acting cabotegravir was presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections by GSK's HIV-focused unit, ViiV Healthcare, which plans to conduct large-scale clinical trials later this year.

The drug is among a dozen significant product releases that GSK anticipates in the coming years. The company has shifted its HIV focus to long-acting treatments and prevention therapies, amid a series of upcoming patent expiries and litigations.

"This new formulation of cabotegravir with a higher concentration and at least double the half-life puts us on the path toward delivering dosing every four months for HIV treatment and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)," said Kimberly Smith, head of Research and Development at ViiV, in a statement.

GSK is also targeting to bring the first ultra-long-acting medicine for the prevention of HIV in 2026, followed by an ultra-long-acting HIV treatment medicine in 2027.

Pfizer and Shionogi hold minority stakes in GSK's ViiV Healthcare business.

Strong sales of medicines for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, drove GSK's growth last year, contributing about 21% of total revenue.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)