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HIV Drug Pump: Gates Foundation to Invest $140M in Preventive Tech

Image: HIV Drug Pump: Gates Foundation to Invest $140M in Preventive Tech

This small HIV drug pump is getting $140 million backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Photo via Intarcia.com)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 05:35 PM

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest $140 million in the development of an HIV drug pump to help prevent the spread of the disease.

The device, being developed by Boston-based Intarcia Therapeutics Inc., is a tiny, implantable pump that can hold can hold a six- or 12-month supply of medicine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Gates Foundation will take a $50 million equity stake in Intarcia and invest as much $90 million more toward development of the device, the WSJ said, adding that the foundation has made 50 similar investment since 2009.

"The ultimate goal is developing an HIV prophylaxis device that will save lives in the developing world," Andrew Farnum, the foundation’s director of program-related investments, told the newspaper.

A similar device loaded with the diabetes drug exenatide already has been developed.

"There’s a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives," foundation Chief Executive Sue Desmond-Hellmann said in a statement, according to the Boston Globe.

Using drugs to prevent infection is called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and the only current drug available is a pill from Gilead Sciences Inc. called Truvada, which has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infections by 90 percent, The Wall Street Journal reported.

About 1.9 million new people are infected with HIV each year, with sub-Saharan Africa seeing a big effect from the disease, Gizmodo reported, noting that "it can be hard to remember to take a pill every single day, as is required for both HIV prevention drugs and drugs taken by people diagnosed with the disease."

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest $140 million in the development of an HIV drug pump to help prevent the spread of the disease.
gates, foundation, hiv, drug, pump
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2016-35-29
Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 05:35 PM
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