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ViiV Healthcare joins PENTA Foundation in search for strategies to achieve remission in children living with HIV

EPIICAL Consortium looks to develop predictive models to optimise treatment 

London, UK, Rome and Padua, Italy, 29 June 2016 – ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GSK, with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, today announced a new collaboration with the Paediatric European Network for Treatment of AIDS (PENTA) Foundation to provide dedicated funding for PENTA’s EPIICAL [1]Consortium in the quest to develop optimal treatment strategies for children living with HIV and explore the potential for achieving disease remission.

In addition to providing funding to the EPIICAL Consortium, ViiV Healthcare scientists will work with the PENTA Foundation and other leading paediatric HIV researchers from across the world to study the viral reservoir and immune characteristics of paediatric patients with HIV from previously established cohorts. The primary aim of this research is to develop models that can predict response to antiretroviral treatment to optimise treatment for children living with HIV. 

The Consortium hopes to use the output of this research in the design of new clinical studies of current and new therapies with the aim to replicate the virologic and immunologic profile predicted by the model. The data and patient profiles may also help inform the design of prospective studies with new and existing treatments intended to lead to HIV remission, and ultimately, cure.

“We are exploring existing data within the existing EPIICAL databases to see what they can tell us about how children infected with HIV respond to early ART treatment, said Professor Paolo Rossi from the Ospadele Bambino Gesù in Rome and scientific coordinator of EPIICAL. “By putting some of the best minds in HIV research against the question of ‘what is the profile of children who have achieved HIV remission?’ we hope to develop models that can be used to improve the treatment paradigm for children with HIV.”

John C Pottage, Jr, MD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for ViiV Healthcare added, “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 that 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.”

 

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About PENTA

PENTA network was established in 1991 as a collaboration between paediatric HIV centres in Europe, but it now comprises more than 100 sites/groups from all over the world. The activities the network includes clinical trials, cohort studies training programs on both HIV and other paediatric infectious diseases.

About EPIICAL (Early-treated Perinatally HIV-infected Individuals: Improving Children’s Actual Life with Novel Immunotherapeutic Strategies)

The EPIICAL Consortium comprises a multi-disciplinary group of HIV researchers including immunologists, virologists, clinicians and mathematicians from 26 leading Institutions in Europe, USA, Canada, Africa and Thailand. The project arises from the firm belief that perinatally infected children treated with suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) from early infancy represent the optimal population model in which to study novel treatment strategies aimed at achieving antiretroviral-free, ART-free remission. This is because HIV-infected infants treated within two to three months of life have a much reduced viral reservoir size and rarely show HIV-specific immunity while preserving normal immune development.

About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi (TYO: 4507) joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com

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[1]EPIICAL: Early-treated Perinatally HIV-infected Individuals: Improving Children’s Actual Life with Novel Immunotherapeutic Strategies