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Dutch universities, biotech and pharmaceutical companies join forces in the battle against HIV

First Health Pharmaceuticals is proud to announce a new multi center public-private collaboration on HIV cure research in the Netherlands. The project called “Genezingvooriedereenanders” which translates to “A different cure for everyone” focuses on HIV eradication and brings together a unique and innovative combination of research groups from the Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC), Utrecht Medical Centre (UMC), Viiv Healthcare and First Health Pharmaceuticals, aiming to pursue the development of actual curative HIV strategies. The proposal coordinated by Professor Charles Boucher of EMC, encompasses investigative approaches of translational research focusing on the eradication of HIV infected cells.

One of the most widely recognized novel HIV cure strategies is the Shock & Kill approach, which aims to reactivate the dormant HIV infected cells – the so-called HIV reservoir – and subsequently eradicate these cells by means of a combination of antiretroviral drugs, host immune clearance and HIV cytolysis.

The compounds of First Health Pharmaceuticals’ HIV pipeline and their potential to contrast HIV reservoir formation and maintenance, such as DDX3 RNA Helicase inhibitors, TLR7 agonists and novel generations of antiretroviral agents, will play an important role in the project.

The Antiretroviral DDX3 Translation Inhibitors have in fact the unique characteristics to contrast viral replication without resistance issues while contemporarily promoting apoptosis, while the newest TLR7 agonists will contribute to the latency reversal (”Shock”) part. Within the context of the project, the latest generation of HIV Translation Inhibitors will be tested in combination strategies with existing antiretroviral drugs, TLR7 activators and other latency reversing agents in order to maximize the Shock & Kill effect.

The innovative research method implemented by the cooperative research groups also wants to provide insights into the differences between the immune system of people living with HIV and the different variants of the virus they carry to track the best way to clean up the HIV reservoirs. The findings will be further developed clinically to achieve a cure for HIV.

This cooperation project is co-financed with a PPP (public-private partnership) allowance that has been made available by Health Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health and the Aidsfonds. The project also proudly hosts the collaboration of the Dutch HIV patient association the HIV Vereniging.