Spring 2008: Of Note
One pill, once a day
By Mary J. Loftus
Taking ten to fifteen pills a day—and a few more in the middle of the night—was commonplace a decade ago for HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy. Now, thanks in part to Emory researchers, adults with HIV can take one pill once a day.
Atripla, a highly effective combination of three previously approved drugs, was approved last July through the FDA’s fast-track review program.
One of the combined drugs, Emtriva, was invented by a trio of Emory scientists: Professor of Pediatrics Raymond Schinazi, an infectious disease expert; Professor of Chemistry Dennis Liotta; and Woo-Baeg Choi, a chemist who left Emory to found FOB Synthesis of Atlanta. Schinazi says the new three-drug pill is like having “an H-bomb for HIV. You blow it to smithereens with one simple pill—the virus doesn’t know how to escape.”
Emory sold all royalties and future rights to the drug in 2005 to Gilead Sciences and Royalty Pharma in a record $525 million intellectual property deal. Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb then came out with Atripla.