GSK, Pfizer launch drug discovery co. targeting HIV/AIDS treatments

LONDON Two of the world’s largest drug companies have launched a company to discover and develop therapies to treat HIV and AIDS.

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer announced Tuesday the launch of ViiV Healthcare, promising “relentless pursuit” of new treatments for the disease, which infects about 1.1 million people in the United States.

The two announced plans to start the company in April and completed the transaction on Friday, with GSK owning an 85% stake and Pfizer owning 15%.

“Rising infection rates and increasingly complex treatment issues have created a challenging landscape in the treatment of HIV and the need to find innovative research and better patient resources,” ViiV CEO Dominique Limet said in a statement.

The company has 10 medicines available – including GSK’s Epzicom (abacavir sulfate and lamivudine) and Pfizer’s Selzentry (maraviroc) – with combined global sales last year of $2.6 billion.

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