LOS ANGELES: Hill & Knowlton and Cohn & Wolfe are working on two new drugs in the fight against HIV/AIDS that are in the pipeline at Pfizer and Merck, PRWeek has learned.
Pfizer has recently filed for approval to sell its drug maraviroc, and an advisory panel from the FDA is set to weigh in on the drug on April 24. Hill & Knowlton is assisting Pfizer with the process, according to Stephen Borboroglu, senior manager for US public relations for Pfizer.
Merck named C&W the AOR for raltegravir, a drug that received positive press following the presentation of clinical data from phase III trails at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in LA earlier this month. Merck will apply for approval in the second quarter.
Merck named Cohn and Wolfe the AOR for the drug in January following a lengthy review process, said Carmen Degourville, manager of public affairs for Merck. Neither company wished to talk about marketing plans for the drugs.
The drugs could prove to be one of the most important developments in treating HIV/AIDS yet, aiming to improve the lives of patients whose virus has become resistant to drugs they already use, said Dr. Charles Farthing, chief of medicine for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“They will revolutionize care in as much as they are giving us two entirely new classes of drugs,” Farthing said. “They are potent, relatively easy to produce, in tablet form so not difficult to administer, so our care against the virus will improve dramatically.”
A third drug, from Gilead Sciences, is also in the pipeline. That drug, however, has only recently completed phase II clinical trials and won’t complete phase III until likely sometime in mid-2008. The company would not comment on communications efforts behind that drug.