* Generic firms offered licences for all ViiV medicines
* Royalty-free offer includes current and pipeline products
* Covers 69 poor countries, including all sub-Saharan Africa
LONDON, July 16 ViiV Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK.L) and Pfizer's (PFE.N) joint venture company for AIDS
drugs, is opening its entire product line-up to generic
drugmakers working in the world's poorest countries.
The announcement, on the eve of next week's international
AIDS conference in Vienna, means generic companies will be able
to obtain royalty-free voluntary licences for all current ViiV
products, as well as products still in development.
Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV, said the move would help drive
down the cost of second-line treatments for HIV, which will be
needed increasingly as more people in poor countries develop
resistance to cheaper first-line drugs.
"As more people have access to treatment, there is an
increased need for second- and third-line treatment options once
initial treatment failure occurs," he said in a statement on
"This is why we have taken steps to make our entire
portfolio and our pipeline available through our royalty-free
voluntary licensing and not-for-profit initiatives."
The ViiV pipeline includes a novel integrase inhibitor -- a
drug that prevents a virus from integrating its genome into the
DNA of the infected cell -- which is being jointly developed
with Shionogi (4507.T), for which new clinical trial data will
be reported in Vienna next week.
The ViiV offer is open to 69 countries, including all
least-developed countries, all low-income countries and the
whole of sub-Saharan Africa, a group that accounts for 80
percent of people currently living with HIV.
ViiV, which was launched last November, pools the two
drugmakers' HIV/AIDS businesses into a new company owned 85
percent by Glaxo and 15 percent by Pfizer.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Will Waterman)